222 - Empowering women unheard during menopause

    enSeptember 19, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Addressing disparities in menopause care for womenWomen in perimenopause and menopause, especially those in certain communities, are not receiving adequate care. It's crucial to continue the conversation, raise awareness, and work towards ensuring all women have access to the best possible care during this stage of life.

      There are still many women, particularly those in perimenopause and menopause, who are not receiving adequate care, advice, and treatment. Dr. Louise Newson, a GP and menopause specialist, emphasizes the importance of addressing this issue and reaching out to these women. Frida, a guest on Dr. Newson's podcast, shares her work in the culinary world focusing on food, health, and well-being, and her personal connection to the issue of equitable menopause care. Despite progress, there are still disparities, especially for women in certain communities. It's crucial to continue the conversation, raise awareness, and work towards ensuring all women have access to the best possible care during this stage of life.

    • Misunderstandings about menopause in ethnic communitiesEducating communities about menopause is essential to challenge cultural stigmas and ensure women receive proper support and care during this stage of their lives.

      There is a significant lack of education and conversation surrounding menopause and perimenopause, particularly in ethnic communities where a woman's value is often linked to fertility and youth. This taboo can lead to misunderstandings about the menopause and its symptoms, causing women to suffer in silence or be dismissed by healthcare providers. It's essential to recognize that menopause is not just about losing fertility, and women may still be fertile despite experiencing hormonal deficiencies. The misconception that menopause is solely related to reproductive health can add an extra layer of confusion and shame for women, especially when dealing with healthcare professionals. It's crucial to address these cultural stigmas and educate communities about the true nature of menopause, ensuring that women receive the support and care they need during this stage of their lives.

    • Ethnic minority women face misdiagnosis and lack of awareness during menopauseEthnic minority women often face misdiagnosis and lack of awareness about menopause, leading to unnecessary antidepressant prescriptions and early retirement. It's essential to make menopause less taboo and improve access to resources for proper diagnoses and support.

      A significant number of women from ethnic minority communities are unaware of their menopausal symptoms and are not being diagnosed properly. This leads to them being misdiagnosed and labeled as mentally ill, and they are often unaware of the resources available to help them. This issue affects 100% of women at different ages, yet many still do not fully understand what is happening to them. The common symptoms include anxiety, mood problems, fatigue, and memory issues. Many women are being prescribed antidepressants, which may not help with their symptoms, and some are even retiring early because they cannot continue working. The lack of awareness and understanding of the menopause has a cascading effect on families and communities. Despite the availability of resources, many women are still not accessing them. It's crucial to address this issue and make the menopause a less taboo subject to help women receive proper diagnoses and access the support they need.

    • Addressing the need for accurate health info for womenEmpowering women to advocate for their health and bridge the gap in access to health info can improve lives and communities.

      There is a significant need to improve access to accurate and reliable health information for women, particularly within underrepresented communities. The speaker shares her personal experience and passion for addressing this issue, as she believes that failing to provide access to this information can have far-reaching consequences, impacting not just one woman, but entire communities. The speaker emphasizes the importance of enabling and empowering women to advocate for their health and wellbeing, and to keep pushing for answers even when faced with obstacles. The speaker's mission is to bridge the gap in access to health information, and she believes that this can be as simple as starting a conversation and opening up dialogue within communities. Despite progress, there is still work to be done, as many women continue to face barriers to accessing the care and information they need.

    • Women's health during menopause often overlooked and misunderstoodInvesting in holistic care, including nutrition, exercise, sleep, and hormone therapy, can significantly improve women's quality of life and reduce health complications during menopause. Empower women with information and simple dietary changes.

      Women's health during menopause is often underserved and misunderstood, leading to unnecessary suffering and potential long-term health complications. GPs and healthcare systems are often overwhelmed by the high demand for hormone treatment, but investing time and resources into holistic care, including nutrition, exercise, sleep, and hormone therapy when desired, can significantly improve women's quality of life and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Women from ethnic minorities and those experiencing early menopause are disproportionately affected and deserve special attention. Misdiagnosis and lack of awareness about the link between menopause and various health conditions, such as dementia, osteoporosis, and diabetes, can lead to further complications. Empowering women with information and simple dietary changes can make a big difference without always requiring medical interventions. The injustice lies in the fact that women's health concerns are too often dismissed or overlooked, and it's crucial to prioritize their wellbeing.

    • Exploring community resources for menopause supportWomen, especially those from certain communities, should consider community resources and holistic approaches before relying on antidepressants for menopause symptoms. Improved access to accurate information and resources is crucial.

      It's crucial for women, particularly those from certain communities, to explore community resources and holistic approaches before turning to antidepressants for menopause symptoms. The speaker, who has a personal connection to the issue, emphasizes the importance of addressing the cultural sensitivity and taboo surrounding menopause in these communities. She shares her concern about the potential for a slippery slope of medication with side effects, drawing from her observations of older generations. The speaker has conducted research by interviewing over 20 women from various backgrounds, finding that even educated women may not access the right treatment, while housewives may refuse offered treatments due to lack of medical literacy. She also interviewed daughters and men to gain a broader perspective. Her findings highlight the need for improved access to accurate information and resources for menopausal women, especially those from underrepresented communities.

    • Let down by healthcare system for menopauseMany women face significant impacts on lifestyle, relationships, and work due to lack of awareness and access to menopause treatment. Younger women are more prepared, but fear and lack of knowledge persist.

      Many women have felt let down by the healthcare system due to a lack of awareness and access to treatment for menopause symptoms. This has resulted in significant impacts on their lifestyle, relationships, and even their ability to work. Some women have turned to alternative treatments out of desperation, but these may not be effective. The system has failed a generation of women, but younger women are more aware and prepared. However, many still fear menopause and lack knowledge about available resources. It's crucial to advocate for greater awareness, access to information, and services outside of the GPs to support women during this stage of life. Community centers and high-profile doctors are making strides in this area, but more needs to be done to ensure all women receive the support they deserve.

    • Menopause's Impact on Women's Lives and Community RolesMenopause can cause severe anxiety, preventing women from driving, working, or leaving homes. Older women, who often hold important roles, are disproportionately affected. Education and individualized treatments are crucial to prevent women from being lost to society due to menopause-related anxiety.

      Menopause can significantly impact women's lives, causing debilitating anxiety that prevents them from driving, working, or even leaving their homes. This issue disproportionately affects older women, who often hold important roles in their communities. It's alarming that in 2023, women still face these challenges, with many feeling too scared or misunderstood to seek help. The new generation needs education on menopause to make informed choices and avoid the same struggles. By working together, we can empower women and amplify efforts to help as many people as possible. The findings from the discussion reveal a need for individualized treatments and early education to prevent women from being lost to society due to menopause-related anxiety.

    • Representation and accurate diagnosis are essential for women during menopause, especially for those from South Asian communities.Encourage second opinions, explore alternative resources, and train community leaders to ensure proper representation and accurate diagnoses for women during menopause.

      Representation and proper diagnosis are crucial for supporting women, particularly those from South Asian communities, during the menopause experience. Representation matters as it allows women to relate to and trust those who share similar experiences and backgrounds. Encouraging second opinions and exploring alternative resources like the Balance app for tracking symptoms can lead to more accurate diagnoses. Lastly, training gatekeepers within the community, such as community center leaders, can help ensure proper support and care for women during menopause.

    • Empowering Community Leaders to Direct Individuals to Resources Beyond GP ServicesCommunity leaders can increase awareness and ability to signpost individuals to resources by promoting representation, early diagnosis, and continuous training.

      Community leaders need to increase their awareness and ability to direct individuals to resources beyond General Practitioner (GP) services. This can be achieved through better representation, increased diagnosis efforts, and additional training. Representation is crucial to ensure that diverse communities feel seen and heard, and diagnosis plays a vital role in identifying and addressing health issues early on. Training is essential to equip community leaders with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively signpost individuals to appropriate resources. It's important to continue this work and explore opportunities for collaboration in the future. I'd like to express my gratitude to Frida for her insightful contributions during this discussion. For more information about Newson Health Group, please visit their website at www.newsonhealth.co.uk. Don't forget to download their free balance app on the App Store or Google Play for additional resources and support.

    Recent Episodes from The Dr Louise Newson Podcast

    265 - Nutrition, mindset and maintaining a healthy weight in menopause

    265 - Nutrition, mindset and maintaining a healthy weight in menopause

    This week on the podcast, Dr Louise is joined by Manisha Morgan, whose own experience of menopause led her to train as a nutritionist.

    Manisha offers support to women who are fed up with yo-yo dieting to build a positive relationship with food, lose weight, and lead a healthy lifestyle. She helps women learn mindset techniques to help improve self-confidence and implement habits that can lead to long-term success.

    Manisha talks about the importance of acknowledging cultural attitudes and approaches to food, and how genetic doesn’t necessarily dictate your future health.

    Finally, Manisha shares three achievable goals:

    1. Manage your expectations, start small and then gradually build up. So for example, if you don't go for a walk, start going for a 20-minute walk and then maybe gradually increase that over a period of time.
    2. Start to include protein in every single meal that you're having, breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you're having three different meals, there are lots of different things that you can have.
    3. If you have a 'bad' day, don't let that throw you off. Just pick yourself up the next day and continue with whatever new habits you’re establishing.

    You can follow Manisha on Instagram @manisha_your_nutritionist

    Click here to find out more about Newson Health.


    264 - What happens to fibroids during the menopause?

    264 - What happens to fibroids during the menopause?

    This week on the podcast, Dr Louise is joined by Osama Naji, a Consultant Gynaecologist who is an expert in advanced gynaecological scanning at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

    In this episode Osama shares his vast knowledge on fibroids – common, benign growths that usually develop during a woman’s reproductive years when oestrogen levels are at their highest. He explains the impact menopause can have on fibroids, treatment options and the possibility of HRT.

    Finally, Osama advises on things to consider if you’ve recently been diagnosed with fibroids:

    1. Find out all the facts about your fibroid - number, location and size – as knowledge is power. You can usually get this from an ultrasound scan. Use that knowledge to get professional guidance about managing your fibroids.
    2. HRT is safe. The benefits of it usually outweigh the risks. The only thing to consider is if the fibroid is causing problems before starting HRT but even in this scenario, HRT may worth trying.
    3. If you experience rapid growth in the fibroids or accelerated symptoms seek help to determine the right treatment.

    Find out more about Osama here and read his feature on balance on fibroids and the menopause here.

    Click here to find out more about Newson Health.

    Dr Corinne Menn: I’m a doctor who’s had breast cancer – here’s what I want you to know

    Dr Corinne Menn: I’m a doctor who’s had breast cancer – here’s what I want you to know

    This week on the podcast, Dr Louise is joined by Dr Corinne Menn, a New York-based, board-certified OB-GYN and North American Menopause Society Certified Menopause Practitioner, with more than 20 years of experience caring for women.

    When she was 28, Corinne was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following her BRCA2+ diagnosis, she underwent multiple surgeries and chemotherapy then navigated pregnancy and menopause plus longer term survivorship issues.

    Corinne received support from the Young Survival Coalition, an organisation that advocates for women under 40 with breast cancer, and worked with her oncologists to manage her pregnancy, menopause and treatment options.

    She feels passionately that women who have or have had breast cancer receive individualised care and treatment for their cancer and menopause symptoms, and shares three tips to help with quality of life:   

    1. Do not minimise your menopausal symptoms, your hot flushes, your night sweats, sleep etc. So whether you use hormonal therapy or non-hormonal medications, make sure you get help and can sleep so you function better and breaking the vicious cycle of spiralling menopausal symptoms.
    2. Please do not neglect vaginal sexual health. Again, if you can preserve a little bit of that, it can stop a negative cycle of suffering, of urinary tract infections and relationship and intimacy issues.
    3. Scheduling time to have a separate appointment with your oncologist and your GYN. Come prepared. Listen to Louise's podcast. Listen to Menopause in Cancer podcast and Instagram page. Be empowered because you and your quality of life are worth it.

    You can follow Corinne on Instagram at @drmennobgyn

    Click here to find out more about Newson Health.


    262 - Acne: from teen years to menopause and beyond

    262 - Acne: from teen years to menopause and beyond

    This week on the podcast with Dr Louise, Consultant Dermatologist Dr Sajjad Rajpar returns to talk about acne and its effect on women during the perimenopause and menopause, including on their self-confidence and mental health.

    Dr Saj explains the causes of acne and the different treatments available, including an encouraging new treatment that could make a big difference to acne sufferers in the long term.

    Finally, Dr Saj shares his three tips for anyone who might have acne:

    1. Keep skincare simple and targeted. Pick one of three active ingredients – retinoids, benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid – and give it three to six months to work. Only supplement it with a very simple supporting skincare regime.
    2. Assess the impact of the acne – if it is leaving persistent blemishes, pigmentation or scars, then escalate the treatment. If the first line treatment hasn’t worked, give it three months and see a medical professional to try to get it under control because prevention of scars is so much easier than trying to reverse and cure them.
    3. Be mindful about all the different risk factors and triggers, and do not underestimate the impact of diet and stress. Where we can treat acne holistically, we should.

    You can follow Dr Saj on Instagram @dr.rajpar_dermatologist

    There is a chapter dedicated to skin and hair in menopause in Dr Louise’s bestselling book, The Definitive Guide to the Perimenopause and Menopause, which includes expert contributions by Dr Saj. Order your copy by clicking here.

    Click here to find out more about Newson Health

    261 - Chronic pain and menopause: what’s the link?

    261 - Chronic pain and menopause: what’s the link?

    About 28 million people in the UK are thought to be living with chronic pain – that’s 43% of the population, according to the 2011 Census.

    But what is chronic pain, and how can it overlap with the perimenopause and menopause?

    In this week’s episode Dr Louise is joined by Dr Deepak Ravindran, a consultant in pain medicine and author of The Pain-Free Mindset: 7 Steps to Taking Control and Overcoming Chronic Pain.

    Dr Deepak unpicks the science behind chronic, or persist, pain and the two discuss the relationship between hormones, inflammation and pain.

    Dr Louise and Dr Deepak have co-authored a new article which offers 10 top tips for primary care practitioners on improving care for women with fatigue and/or pain. You can access the article here.

    Follow Dr Deepak on YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

    Click here to find out more about Newson Health

    260 - Get comfortable with the uncomfortable: mental health and the menopause

    260 - Get comfortable with the uncomfortable: mental health and the menopause

    Content advisory: this podcast contains themes of suicide and mental health.

    This week on the podcast, Dr Louise is joined by Andrea Newton, a postmenopausal woman whose own experience of mental health during the menopause lead her to train as a tutor with the National Centre for Suicide Prevention Training. Over the last six years, Andrea has trained thousands of people in suicide intervention skills and she is now training to become a menopause coach.

    Andrea explains how her work in the corporate world has allowed her to share the importance of educating line managers, HR managers, and everyone about the menopause. She is also the author of the book, Could it be Your Hormones Love? (And Other Questions Not to Ask a Menopausal Woman).

    Andrea shares her tips on widening the conversation about menopause:

    1. Women need to educate themselves more about how the menopause affects all aspects of their health and be better at advocating for themselves.
    2. Let’s take the conversation to the wider audience and stop the awful, narrow, stereotypical view of menopause. Instead, educate people so we can avoid tribunals, retain talent and have more menopause-friendly businesses.
    3. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and have conversations about things like menopause, mental health, suicide risk. We need to stop waiting for people to reach out, and we need to get better at reaching in and being proactive.

    You can follow Andrea on LinkedIn, Instagram @in.her.right.mind and Facebook @InHerRightMind  

    Click here to find out more about Newson Health

    Contact the Samaritans for 24-hour, confidential support by calling 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.


    Related articles

    Westlund Tam L, Parry BL. (2003), ‘Does oestrogen enhance the antidepressant effects of fluoxetine?’, J Affect Disord. 77(1):87-92. Doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(02)00357-9

    Ibrahim WW, Safar MM, Khattab MM, Agha AM. (2016), ‘17β-Estradiol augments antidepressant efficacy of escitalopram in ovariectomized rats: Neuroprotective and serotonin reuptake transporter modulatory effects,’ Psychoneuroendocrinology. 74: 240-250. 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.09.013



    259 - All about Dr Louise’s theatre tour Hormones and Menopause: The Great Debate

    259 - All about Dr Louise’s theatre tour Hormones and Menopause: The Great Debate

    This week on the podcast Dr Louise meets comedian Anne Gildea, who will be joining Louise on her 34-date theatre tour this autumn, Hormones and Menopause: The Great Debate.

    Anne, a founding member of Irish musical-comedy trio The Nualas talks to Louise about her diagnosis of breast cancer, aged 45, and her ensuing menopausal symptoms, which she was unprepared for. She explains how her research inspired her to create her own show, How to Get the Menopause and Enjoy It.

    Louise and Anne discuss why they’ve come together to create a new show that will take you on a journey through the history of women’s health and lead you to see menopause and hormones in a whole different light.

    Finally, the pair share some of the reasons they think people should come to the show:

    1. It'll be a wonderful night out - a real sharing experience where you can also have a laugh.
    2. There’ll be lots to learn with new content and a sharing of knowledge.
    3. You’ll be able to ask questions and gets answers. Some shows will also have doctors available in the interval but Louise will answer questions on the stage as well.

    You can follow Anne on Instagram @annegildea  

    To buy tickets to the show click here

    Click here to find out more about Newson Health


    258 - I’m 27 and perimenopausal: how testosterone helped my symptoms

    258 - I’m 27 and perimenopausal: how testosterone helped my symptoms

    This week on the podcast, Dr Louise is joined by Elin Sullivan, a young woman who suffered a myriad of symptoms for years before getting the right treatment.

    Elin first experienced recurring urinary tract infections at 19 years old, and twice required hospitalisation. She also suffered from sweats, sleep disruption and fatigue, shaking and lichen sclerosus. After a chance encounter with Louise, she tried local HRT, which was transformative, and now takes testosterone to balance her low levels.

    Elin talks about how hard it can be to experience perimenopausal symptoms at a young age and shares her tips for other younger women experiencing issues that they think might be down to their hormones:  

    1. Although it can feel really hard, don't stop advocating for yourself. You may have self-doubt or worry that you’re wrong but keep pushing. My doctor was sick of seeing me, I was there probably every week, but don’t give up.
    2. Rather than just giving your doctor a list of your symptoms, show them when they were happening as well. Have a log of symptoms and anything that might have affected them on that day. This will help your doctor rule out things but also show if your diet, etc, has an influence.
    3. Don't be scared to try medications or suggestions. It might help but if it doesn’t it can potentially help your doctor decide the next step. I never believed local HRT could make such a big difference but am so glad I tried it.

    Click here to find out more about Newson Health.

    257 - Oestrogen, your heart and the menopause

    257 - Oestrogen, your heart and the menopause

    This week on the podcast Dr Louise is joined by Dr Felice Gersh, who is double board-certified in OB-GYN and Integrative Medicine, and specialises in female health, with a focus on managing female hormonal dysfunctions.

    She is the author of the book PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness, and recently published a paper on oestrogen and cardiovascular disease, and a 2021 paper on HRT.

    Here she talks about the family of oestrogens and the important role of hormones on the heart. Finally, she shares three tips on improving heart and whole body health:

    1. Eat a lot of phytoestrogen-containing foods - so every kind of plant in all the different colours, including beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables. They are nature's gift to us.
    2. Sunlight is like happy medicine. Try to get sunlight in the morning, midday and watch the sunset every chance you get. This will help you to sleep better, make more serotonin, and help to set your master clock in your brain, which tends to drift when we lose our oestrogen production.
    3. Move. Your fitness status is more predictive of healthy longevity than your blood pressure. Think of your fitness, strength, flexibility and balance as a critical part of your life so get active in every way you can.

    You can follow Dr Felice on Instagram @felicegershmd.

    Click here for more about Newson Health.

    256 - Spreading the word about menopause care in the US, and beyond

    256 - Spreading the word about menopause care in the US, and beyond

    This week Dr Louise is joined by Aoife O’Sullivan, a family medicine doctor who trained in Dublin before completing a second family medicine residency at the University of Maryland.


    After taking some time out to complete extra training in perimenopausal and menopausal care, including Newson Health’s Confidence in the Menopause course, Dr Aoife is passionate about providing more comprehensive and holistic care to women during midlife.


    Dr Aoife share the ways clinicians, and all people, can educate themselves in order to improve the health of women in the US, and across the world:

    1. Take every opportunity to learn and educate. So join any local healthcare Facebook groups and pass on links to the Confidence in the Menopause website, the balance app, etc. Even if you reach one or two people like that, it will make a difference and they might reach another one or two people.
    2. Share small bites of information because it can be a little overwhelming. So when you're trying to reach somebody, give them small amounts of information at a time.
    3. Harness the power of friends. If everyone informs their friends and they all go to their doctors, obstetricians, gynaecologists and urologists, and ask questions, it will fuel discussion and increase knowledge.

    You can follow Dr Aoife on Instagram @portlandmenopausedoc

    Find out more about the Confidence in the Menopause course and click here for more about Newson Health.