We chat to Fiona Catchpowle, founder of The Menopause Directory.
Four years ago Fiona started blogging about her own experience of the menopause and the menopause vibe she created on social media over the next couple of years won her an award at the UK & European Social Media Marketing awards for using Social Media for Good.
This year Fiona worked worked closely with specialised menopause nurses and together they have created a nurse-led online consultation service for menopause management.
Her book, The Thinking Woman’s Shortcut to Menopause, is available to purchase as a digital download.
[1:20] MumAbroad: Can you talk to us about the symptoms of hormonal decline and menopause, beyond just hot flushes?
Fiona Catchpowle, The Menopause Directory: “Firstly, I’m pleased to hear you calling it hormonal decline. That was my light bulb moment: understanding menopause as a process of the hormones in decline. It starts around 40, and the symptoms we experience at that point are things we don’t necessarily attribute to menopause because we just haven’t got it on our radar at that moment in time. As oestrogen levels in particular start dropping, these symptoms are caused by what we call the ‘menopause wave’, and if you can get that into your head, the symptoms make much more sense.”
“We’ve got things like anxiety depression, sensations of depression, and other things that can happen early on are insomnia, aches and pains, headaches, itchy skin, tingling extremities, crushing fatigue. It can go on. There are over 30 recognised symptoms that can be attributed to hormonal decline, and in the early days you don’t notice so you don’t think you’re menopausal. And because it happens so differently to each person, we don’t have that marker, there are just little murmurs going on. Because we never end up doing it at the same time, the conversation never really gets going on it.”
“There’s also brain fog, which can feel like early on set dementia. I’ve literally been on the phone to someone, gone to get a coffee, come back and forgotten who I’ve spoken to. I’ve spent hours worrying ‘who have I spoken to?’ ‘what appointments have I made?’ And it’s a real thing. Brains rely on oestrogen. As hormones decline, these are things that can occur. So for me, it’s not so much the symptoms, but the consequences of the symptoms.”