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October is menopause awareness month and on 18 October it’s World Menopause Day, so we sat down with GP and Women's Health Doctor, Dr Fionnuala Barton (AKA The Menopause Medic), to shine a light on women’s health and what’s crucial for everyone to be aware of.
If we want to remain active, engaged and fulfilled across all areas of our lives into our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond - in our relationships, fitness, work and family lives – it is imperative that we are physiologically supported to do so.
Dr Barton is passionate about optimising physical and emotional wellness for women at all stages of life and has particular interest in recognition and management of menopausal symptoms and healthy ageing. She believes that the path to health optimisation starts with empowerment through access to up to date and evidenced based information to enable fully informed decision-making. She draws on a wealth of clinical and personal experience to provide engaging and motivational content and her empathetic, holistic, personalised and proactive approach to clinical consultations.
"There is a big knowledge gap for this generation, and we have a catch-up to do,” says Dr Barton.
“Until recently, menopause wasn’t on the curriculum in schools, it is barely touched on in some medical schools, let alone it being an open topic of conversation and education in wider society. It is great that we now have this focus and we have a chorus of voices improving awareness and education for the empowerment of women”
Dr Barton shared with us three things to keep in mind this menopause awareness month:
I recommend a proactive approach to improving emotional, cognitive as well as physical health in midlife. We all know to exercise regularly to help keep our bodies fit and functional but very few people treat their emotional and cognitive health in the same way. Having a broader awareness of the symptoms we might experience in midlife and menopause allows us to take action before we reach a crisis.
Many of us will be living our most productive years in menopause and supporting our biology is a key part of maintaining vitality and productivity in our home and working lives. There should be no age-barriers to accessing up-to-date advice, guidance, and medical care in menopause. Indeed, NICE are clear that there are no arbitrary cut-offs for when HRT should be discontinued and decision making around medical management of menopause should be shared, individualised and informed. For many women the vast benefits of HRT will continue to outweigh risks and I have many patients in their 70s and 80s who remain on HRT for this reason.
Consider if there are adjustments or improvements you could make in these 4 key "pillars" or foundations of good health: Nutrition; Movement and Exercise; Sleep quantity and quality; Stress management.
For more information about Dr Barton, visit her website The Menopause Medic now