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"The Menopause & Me" By Bronwen Dudley-Owen

I remember exactly where I was when I first spoke to my children about my stiff legs and how I was feeling. A couple of years ago, on holiday in Spain, we were walking up some steps in Granada on a beautiful day in August when I said: “Stop! You must listen to me. There is something wrong with my body. My legs are all stiff and they’re not working properly.” My kids just laughed but I persisted, and I said:” I am being really serious, you need to listen to me.” It was an important moment. In December later that year I was sitting on the floor wrapping Christmas presents when someone came into the room. To stand up I had to shuffle on my backside over to a table so I could hold on to something. I found it extremely embarrassing as I was only 56 at the time and should have been much more agile. In the New Year I felt very overweight and uncomfortable so decided to do something about it. I visited my doctor’s surgery and the GP I saw advised me to contact Overeaters Anonymous but mentioned nothing about menopause. Unfortunately, many GPs in Britain do not receive specialist training in this subject, its symptoms and how to treat it. As the owner of Guernsey Skin & Beauty I meet many women with similar issues. One female client told me she had worked hard to rise through the ranks in her career, but now struggled to maintain her position because her anxiety and depression had led her to be signed off by her doctor. Hormonal change was not initially considered and therefore it had taken some time before HRT had been offered to her to balance her hormones. I had looked into the gastric balloon but decided against it after receiving some direct (and loud) advice from my daughter. So my next move was to get a personal trainer and weight loss injections from Dr Daniel Sister. I then wondered if my weight gain and my difficulties in losing the extra pounds were connected to my hormones, so I contacted a hormonal nutrition expert, Dr Noemi Varadi. Losing weight can be extremely challenging. We are bombarded with so many diets and conflicting advice and information on social media that it can be hard to choose the right way forward. Noemi asked me lots of probing questions about my lifestyle and symptoms then gave me an eating based on my hormonal profile. It was explained how an imbalance of hormones can build up in your liver and the impact this can have. I followed the eating plan, the weight began to fall off and the fitness regime began to kick in. During this time my husband went home to visit his family and I told him to remain in Germany for a while because I needed to do this on my own. Interestingly I had been to a conference on the menopause in February and was told that a change in mindset during menopause is a recognised symptom. So poor Tobias had to stay away while I lost weight and thought about what was happening to me at this stage of my life. Like my client, until I received this life-changing advice I’d found it hard to concentrate at work in recent years. I can remember sitting down to sort out the staff wages and I couldn’t think how to do it. Years ago, when pregnant with my first child, I would wake in a foul mood and realised that this was hormonal. Unfortunately, women are not educated about how hormonal change can affect our personalities at other stages in our lives such as the ‘brain fog’ and ‘rage’ we may experience during menopause. I get to speak to so many women at the clinic who want to talk about weight gain and what they can do to lose it. What they really need to talk about is hormonal change or menopause. So, I lost a couple of stone, my husband was allowed back (sorry darling). I was so used to being a mother figure in the house for many years doing everything for everybody but my attitude had changed. I was not going to be that person anymore. This was a new Bronwen – time to be me! In February I attended the first Menopause in Aesthetic conference and realised that I recognised in myself, so many of the symptoms in what is a fundamental change to a woman’s life. I learned that the previous 10 years when I put on weight is known as the perimenopause. I also discovered that the past year when I was feeling like things needed to change was because I was in a transitional state from perimenopause to menopause. Now, my life has changed beyond measure. I am pleased to say that I made the right decisions regarding my menopause journey and chose exercise and nutritional guidance over a weight loss balloon/operation. I could not have done it without my daughter telling me not to be lazy and to put some effort into the change. I decided that Guernsey women like myself deserved to be better informed about this life-changing event. We all need support and guidance in what has been a taboo subject for many years. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of this in Guernsey and it’s time to do something about it. That is why we are staging a special afternoon on 16 May at St Pierre Park Hotel which will feature many top experts in this field who will answer questions and share their knowledge. For more information on the event and who will be speaking go to

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