A little bit of Practical Inspiration on… Menopause with Ruth Devlin

Men… Let’s Talk Menopause: What’s going on and what you can do about it is an easy-to-read handbook for any man trying to work out what’s happening to the woman he thought he knew. Nurse Ruth Devlin was appalled at the lack of straightforward information when she experienced perimenopausal symptoms herself – how could women explain things to their partners when they didn’t really understand what was happening themselves? She explains in this guest post why she decided to fill the gap.

Menopause is essentially just part of the female hormonal journey through life. So why oh why is this particular bit of the journey shrouded in mystery, rarely talked about and for most women largely ignored… until they can no longer ignore the effects their symptoms are having on them, and by that stage they wish they did know more! And of course family members around them tend not to have a clue what on earth is going on either.

I thought it was about time someone thought about those people who live with women going through menopause, whose lives are changed by the Change but who on the whole haven’t got a clue what’s happening: the result is Men…Let’s Talk Menopause: What’s happening and what you can do about it.

Many people bizarrely associate the menopause with little grey-haired grannies, but for the majority of women, symptoms start developing in our 40s and a small proportion of women will undergo premature menopause, before the age of 45 years. Perhaps it’s this misconception which is the main contributory factor to making women ignore it as a topic, not wanting to admit that they are actually at that stage of their lives, whereas if they had more information from an earlier stage they would cope so much better with their symptoms.

So I wanted to provide a short, informative guide packed with all the essential information needed to help any bloke understand what is going on with the perimenopausal woman in his life… it’s also extremely useful for women as well! I’ve kept it easy to read guide, packed with relevant information and I’ve added a touch of humour which always helps. I even twisted the arm of my eldest son to create the cartoon couple Millie and Max to illustrate the book.

What can you expect…many people still think the menopause is just about hot flushes, problems with periods and being a bit grumpier than normal but there are over 30 associated symptoms, so for ease I’ve split these into three main categories – physical, psychological and genitourinary – explaining a little about each one and giving options on how to cope with those symptoms.

At the end of the day what women really need are the practical options available to help with those symptoms – and it’s very hard for GPs to explain all those options in a 10-minute appointment!

With any symptom, lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise, plus making time for alternative therapies and activities like pilates and yoga, are really important – this topic even has its very own chapter, because I want everyone to realise that living a healthier, more active life can help prevent or improve any health issue. Simple tweaks to your diet and exercise can really help – they may not cure the symptom but can definitely reduce its intensity and frequency. This doesn’t just apply to the menopause – a healthy, positive attitude to life generally has a positive effect on your overall health and well being. Prevention is always a better option than firefighting any health condition.

Everyone experiences symptoms in different ways with many still having their quality of life affected by their symptoms, so there are chapters covering HRT and alternative remedies, and useful signposting to websites I recommend for more detailed information. I’ve also included a questionnaire which some may find helpful.

We expect to know what’s happening puberty and with pre- and post-natal care, so why not perimenopausal symptoms? Maybe it’s the stigma associated with the name, but everyone – we NEED to talk menopause!

Men… Let’s Talk Menopause: What’s going on and what you can do about it is published on 25 April 2019.

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