By Meg Mathews
August 5, 2020
Meg Mathews is the founder of MegsMenopause.com An Icon of the Nineties Brit Pop Scene, former music Industry PR, and ex-wife of Oasis Noel Gallagher; she overcame battles with alcohol and substance abuse to become an acclaimed designer, events planner and international advocate for the menopause.
We asked our Nourish community what questions they most wanted answered by Meg and here are those answers :
1. Tell us your menopause story.
My menopause journey started when I was 48/49 years old. I had no clue what was going on so I went to the doctor and got prescribed anti-depressants. I couldn’t explain myself properly because I didn’t know what I was going through, and it was only when I attended alcoholic group meetings that I finally understood.
After listening to me express my feelings, a woman from the group told me to take her number, as she explained I was probably going through the menopause. That was a shock to me! I tried to make an appointment with my GP who was unfortunately fully-booked for 2 weeks so I went to my private gynaecologist and was prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Luckily, nearly all the HRT drugs were available on the NHS, except for testosterone, for that I needed to go to the menopause clinic.
This is what we are working for, this was the beginning of my journey… After a couple of weeks taking HRT, I started to feel like myself again. I couldn’t believe how quickly the HRT benefits took effect, that once your hormones are balanced, you can start to feel normal again! It really is mostly about getting your hormones balanced. It is a bit sad that we, as women, still have to fight for it nowadays. Doctors read leaflets about HRT, but they are not really being taught how to deal with it. We have a long way to go, but we will get there. We need to show doctors a new way of treating menopause.
2. As I head towards menopause in my mid-fifties, I notice my metabolism is slowing down. Do you any nutritional advice that can boost the metabolism (besides regular exercise) or any recommended supplements?
Meno Blend is a top-recommended supplement, it has everything you need to support your body once in menopause, and at a very affordable price. Together with exercise, it is vital to follow a healthy and balanced diet. I am doing a juice cleanse diet twice a year while also following the keto diet. Eating smaller portions is important, as after menopause, women’s metabolisms can slow down.
3. How do you determine the beginning of perimenopause versus actual menopause? What are the main differences?
Well, in my personal experience, I didn’t know anything about perimenopause and I had no idea I was going through it. I had never even heard the word until I was, by then, post-menopausal. I didn’t recognise perimenopausal symptoms and thought they stemmed from the lifestyle I had when I was younger, when I was partying a lot. I wasn’t taking care of the food I ingested, my metabolism, my mental health. But, now that I know, I can tell you that technically (and medically) menopause occurs when you go one full year without having a period. From then, the main differences are the symptoms: in most cases perimenopausal symptoms are more intense than in menopause. Moreover, in perimenopause you can still experience periods, maybe not regular, maybe heavier or lighter compared to what you were used to, but you will still a have period, and very importantly, you are still fertile, therefore take precautions!
4. Are there any homeopathic treatments that exist to help with hot flashes?
There exist some natural remedies for hot flashes, although I have personally never tried them, so cannot attest to their effectiveness. Black cohosh is one of the most well-studied supplements for menopause, it's made from the root of the North American black cohosh plant. Other natural options are licorice root, valerian root and sage tea.
5. How often should we get our hormones checked?
This is a tricky one, because technically you don’t really need to get your hormones checked. During perimenopause, your hormones are on a rollercoaster, therefore is difficult to get a precise answer, but you will find that your levels are diminishing. After menopause onset, there is no real point in checking them as your hormones establish a new low level. You don’t really “treat” hormones, and even if you take HRT, you are just giving back a balance to your body, not bringing back the hormones to a previous level. On top of that, we need to bear in mind that every woman is different and hormone levels reflect the type of menopause that each woman is experiencing.
For instance, a women’s oestrogen level might be dropping, while other hormones go up in response. You can also have some women showing little to no symptoms, while her hormone levels are those of a menopausal state, and these could be the same level as a woman who is experiencing hot flashes, mood swings and anxiety.
Therefore, checking hormone levels will not necessarily accurately reflect your symptoms.
6. At menopause why is sleeping more difficult and what are the most natural and effective ways to help with this?
There are several adjustments you can make to get a better night’s sleep. First of all, try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Secondly, destress! We lead such busy lives, but the reality is that stress and anxiety are directly related to insomnia. Try to switch off your mind and body with relaxation techniques like yoga, reading and meditating. Turning off your devices like smartphones and tablets before bed can also help. You should avoid alcohol, even if it seems like a good idea, it is not as it can disrupt the sleep pattern. Lastly, try to treat, in the best way you can, your menopausal symptoms, as night sweats do not help with a goo night’s sleep.
7. I am only 36 but I feel like my moods are more extreme and my sleeping habits and skin have changed, could I be experiencing perimenopause?
Yes! It could be premature menopause (there is an article on megsmenopause about it). For example, I am pretty sure I started experiencing menopausal symptoms at around 40 years old.
8. I have always had a very light menstrual cycle but now it is much heavier. I feel like I am wiped out for days on end, what do you recommend?
A change in your menstrual flow, ie. Heavier or lighter periods, is a typical sign of the menopause. Try to eat healthily and keep hydrated. You can ask your doctor to see if it is possible to start HRT as it can help bring balance back to your cycle.
9. Do you have any vitamin supplements that you feel work really well for the menopause?
I use my range of supplements called Meno Blend.
10. Does eating a vegan diet help stop early menopause?
There is currently no evidence that a vegan diet has any effect on the menopause and its symptoms.
11. I am always tired, very moody, and have waves of being hot and sweaty. I really can’t stand it, what do you recommend?
The best solution, in my opinion, is HRT. It worked miracles for me. If, however, you don’t want to take HRT, there are small lifestyle changes you can adopt. You can start by trying to get as much sleep as possible as it is very common to suffer insomnia during menopause. Adjusting your bedroom environment by making sure to sleep in the dark and reduce screen time before bed can help a lot.
Also, try adjusting your diet. There are some foods that are better to avoid to prevent hot flashes, and a healthy and balanced diet can also help with your mood as you feel healthier and you will have more energy during the day. Lastly, always remember to keep hydrated and get plenty of exercise.
For more info and advice, visit megsmenopause.com and download my app.