Journalist, Author, Broadcaster & Chair of Menopause Mandate
We need to know about our hormones, our rights and any symptoms that might need investigation.
There is far too little education and support through every stage of female reproductive health — from fertility to post-menopause. In the 21st century, it still shocks me that women’s health isn’t higher up the agenda.
No shame in menopause
It’s no secret that I am passionate about women’s health — and menopause, in particular. I made a BBC programme, wrote a book — Cracking The Menopause — and now, I am proud to be Chair of the campaign group Menopause Mandate.
When it comes to female hormones, female anatomy and taboos about both, I’m proud to be a rule-breaker. A high point of my life occurred at our first Menopause Mandate meeting at the Houses of Parliament where I used the word ‘vulva’ in a speech — twice.
Happily, it’s finally becoming acceptable to name female body parts out loud without recourse to careful synonyms, for fear of offending the faint-hearted. Joking aside, and as our last campaign highlighted, discourse around menopause is beyond a joke. My perimenopause hit me hard. I had no idea what was happening as I stressed, sweated and fretted through two years of sheer misery. It was only a series of doctors’ appointments that eventually brought me to a specialist and the realisation that I wasn’t insane but perimenopausal.
There is far too little education and support through every stage of female reproductive health.
Including all aspects of health
My experience inspired my current campaigning, with the priority being that all women and healthcare providers must be informed about menopause to be adequately supported during the transition.
I feel the same way about all aspects of women’s health. In terms of fertility, I was fortunate to have both my children in my forties. Fertility in your forties can be a lottery. Again, we need to know our biology and options.
It saddens me that parts of our bodies and mandatory life transitions are still whispered about when the confidence to speak out can lead to support and diagnosis. I welcome all awareness-raising — and I am happy to say ‘vulva’ and ‘vagina’ in any environment necessary to achieve our goals.