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“The Menopause & Me” By Kirsteen Heneghan, Community Mental Health Nurse

The best thing I have done is to swim in the sea every day. I have a friend who is a similar age and we meet at 6am during the week but link up with a larger group at weekends. It really helps me manage anxiety, stress and hot flushes. It resets my body temperature. I go to Havelet for a swim then back home to get the kids ready for school. It sets me up for the day and I can highly recommend it.

“I was born near Glasgow and lived for around 24 years up in Aberdeen and moved to Guernsey in 2021. I have 4 children and the last one was born just before my 42nd birthday. It was a couple of years after that when things started to become more irregular and I discovered that I had entered the perimenopause.

Because my mum and my grandmother both had breast cancer and had been prescribed estrogen and progesterone, I decided that I wouldn’t take HRT. I didn’t want that risk.

Estrogen is largely responsible for preparing the body for potential pregnancy, whereas progesterone is associated with maintaining a pregnancy. But a dominance of estrogen may cause uterine cells to multiply out of control, which could lead to the development of cancer.

I am a registered Mental Health Nurse but I didn’t know a huge amount about the menopause and what was happening to me. Nobody really spoke about it and there was little to prepare me for the next stage of my life. I found it difficult to get information and what I could find was often conflicting. So, I just muddled along, but I really started to doubt myself and it impacted on my self-confidence.

There are so many physical effects and I discovered that a frozen shoulder can be a symptom of the menopause. I had injections to treat that which made me more mobile but aches and pains in various muscles all over the body can also be common.

Brain fog is a real issue, especially when my periods would have been due. I have struggled with speech and have had difficulty being as articulate as I would normally be. I have to think a lot more about what I am saying. But, I’m really lucky because the men and women in our team at work have experience of the menopause themselves or via their partners so are very supportive.

In the last few years a number of celebrities have shared their experiences of what they went through and this has raised the profile of the process in the media. Unfortunately, many men are still ignorant of what is happening to their partners and it’s well documented that there are high numbers of marriage break downs during menopause.

Education in school is also important so that children understand what their mothers are experiencing and boys will hopefully be more supportive of their partners in years to come.

So, around nine years ago I asked myself what my options were and I began to take natural supplements and treat my symptoms with exercise. Because I’m a vegetarian I try not to eat processed foods and I look after myself. I didn’t go to my GP about it though because I knew I didn’t want HRT.

Speaking to people about what you are going through really helps as you don’t want to feel isolated and alone. It’s easy to think that everyone around you is coping with the experience and managing it well, but I can assure you, that is not always the case.

Many people have told me that if you have good health, your fifties and sixties can be the best years of your life, so I try to do things in moderation, stay fit, swim every day, eat the right things and take natural supplements.

This works for me and maybe it could work for you too.

For more information on the Embrace the Change menopause event on Tuesday 16 May and who will be speaking, go to

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