Menopause Special: Advice and products to help navigate the menopause
To mark Menopause Awareness Month this October, Louise Cummings chats to Emma Tytherleigh, founder of Cambridge-based The Joyful Menopause, and considers therapies and lingerie suited to this time of hormonal change
Emma Tytherleigh explains what inspired her to launch The Joyful Menopause – a course which supports women as they navigate perimenopause and menopause
I started experiencing some pretty tough perimenopausal symptoms in 2017 at the age of 41 years. I had no idea what was wrong and after a while my husband persuaded me to go to the GP who confirmed that I was in perimenopause. Six years ago, there was very little information and support out there on the menopause and I felt lost and alone!
I was determined to learn, research and create something to help support women navigate the chaos and start feeling themselves again. I interviewed women during the covid lockdowns when my fitness business was quieter and designed the six-week course, launching in June 2021. My vision is for it to be the NCT equivalent for the Perimenopause.
The course covers an explanation of the biology, so what is happening to us and how this feeds into the symptoms. Also, exercise; as a qualified fitness instructor, I have studied additional courses to train peri to postmenopausal women and understand what a powerful tool it is in helping women to mitigate some of the symptoms of oestrogen loss and promoting healthier aging. We also discuss nutrition because what we eat has a profound impact on how we feel. There is a module on mental wellbeing and re-connecting to what brings us joy. HRT and alternative therapies are discussed and finally the importance of stress management to help balance our hormones.
All participants have been very positive about their experience of the Joyful Menopause course. As well as feeling well equipped to deal with this stage of life, they really valued the opportunity to make new connections and share experiences.
“Excellent course with a focus on creating your own action plan - this is the key to having ‘a joyful menopause’. Emma is a great coach and very well informed; she educated us in a practical, efficient and fun way. The course exceeded my expectations and helped me shift my mindset about the menopause. Highly recommended!” Louise, Cambridge.
Spreading the message
As well as providing the six-week course for individuals, I also support organisations by helping them to create awareness of the menopause and promote wellbeing for staff in the menopause. These have included Cambridge City Council and Netherhall School and Sixth Form.
Perimenopause and menopause can be a challenging and scary time and some women completely lose themselves. Thankfully there is so much more information and help available now, thanks to wonderful women like Dr Louise Newson and Davina McCall. Firstly, I would encourage women to confide in a partner or friend, as support is so important. Secondly, seek help and support, and thirdly take positive action. I am of course biased and would strongly advise building in regular exercise, even if it is just a 15-minute walk. Women at this stage often feel so exhausted, have aching joints and exercise is the last thing they feel like doing. However, it is such a powerful tool to help support physical and mental health.
*Emma is running a one-day retreat with midlife nutritionist Amanda Ryder at the Functional Pilates studio, Bury St Edmunds, on November 4. Find out more at joyfulmenopause.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
During perimenopause and menopause, the body experiences a decline in oestrogen and progesterone which can cause symptoms including hot flushes, heavy and irregular periods, aching joints, hair loss, low mood, dryness, insomnia and lack of libido. Many women choose to take Hormone Replacement Therapy, to compensate for the depleted hormones, which the NHS asserts is ‘a safe effective treatment for most going through menopause and perimenopause’.
For those considering a natural route, gentle exercise, counterbalanced by rest and relaxation so your adrenal glands effectively produce ‘back up’ hormones, can help. Adrenal glands also need magnesium and vitamin B, which can be found in dark green veg, apples, avocado, nuts, dates and figs, amongst other foods.
A herbal remedy that may alleviate symptoms is A.Vogel’s Menopause Support (£8.99 for 30 tablets at avogel.co.uk) which contains isoflavones that provide a source of gentle plant oestrogen.
If you imagined heading into the menopause clad in beige Bridget Jones-style control pants, think again! Innovative lingerie line Juliemay is tailored for perimenopause and menopause relief, and is super stylish, to boot.
Created from skin-friendly, hypoallergenic, temperature regulating Prima Cotton and Mulberry Silk, the luxurious underwear is soft and breathable, offering comfort and confidence. Designs include a dynamic sports bra (with a touch of sparkle), pretty bralettes, high-waisted briefs and nightwear.
See the full range at juliemay.co.uk
Few things in life are as joyful as a spa day, especially when the therapies on offer are tailored entirely to your needs. The award-winning Spa at Bedford Lodge, Newmarket, offers a mid-week Meno=Pause spa day package, formulated for those experiencing hormonal changes.
The blissful day includes a relaxing foot soak in mineral-rich eucalyptus and tea tree bath salts, a 75-minute bespoke ESPA treatment, three hours use of the facilities (which include a hydrotherapy pool and rooftop hot tub), a cup of ESPA herbal tea to aid restful sleep, an ESPA Bath & Body Oil worth £34 and complimentary bag and slippers. Sounds heavenly!
Midweek Meno=Pause spa day package, from £140 pp, available Tuesday to Friday. Visit bedfordlodgehotelspa.co.uk
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