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'We regularly see women who think they are going mad' - two women reveal why they opted for alternatives to HRT for menopause

Two women tell Emily Hourican about their menopause experiences and why they opted for a different approach

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Leah Kennedy says her menopause symptoms started at age 36 and she was diagnosed at 38. Photo: Damien Eagers

Leah Kennedy says her menopause symptoms started at age 36 and she was diagnosed at 38. Photo: Damien Eagers

Loretta Dignam is founder and CEO of the Menopause Hub. Photo: Damien Eagers

Loretta Dignam is founder and CEO of the Menopause Hub. Photo: Damien Eagers

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Leah Kennedy says her menopause symptoms started at age 36 and she was diagnosed at 38. Photo: Damien Eagers

It might just be the last taboo. In a society in which women now happily share their conception stories and talk about being 'period positive', there is still a tendency to drop the voice when discussing menopause, to shroud it in silence, secrecy, even shame.

It's an attitude that - for all the fascinating advances at the extreme edge of research (including a recent breakthrough that could see women freezing and storing part of their ovaries in youth, then transplanting the tissue back into the body later, to kick-start natural hormone production, delaying the menopause and expanding fertility) - unfortunately often reflects a certain on-the-ground medical reluctance too. There can be a lack of understanding from some doctors confronted by women complaining of the many broad, often disparate symptoms of menopause and, increasingly, perimenopause (the years preceding menopause). Even the techies are slow to get in on the act. Fem-tech, as it's called, has so far been more active in the area of menstrual health and pregnancy, with only a handful of companies targeting menopause. Where these exist, they largely rely on symptom tracking and personal assessment of mood, offering treatment plans that include nutrition and lifestyle recommendations. Add to this the fact that we are, by virtue of increased longevity, dealing with something relatively new - average life expectancy means we can now easily expect to notch up 30 post-menopausal years.


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