Once a hush hush topic, thanks to the likes of experts plus Davina, Gabby Logan and Drew Barrymore (and the rest), the conversations around Menopause and Perimenopause are opening up. They are highlighting the importance of understanding the symptoms and reassuring women all over the world that what they’re experiencing is completely normal and they’re not going insane. FINALLY we are actually talking about something that we shouldn’t feel ashamed of; this is all part of our natural ageing process.  

We spoke with Dr Charlotte Gooding about the work she does around helping women at this time in their lives. How symptoms can differ from person to person; how there’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment and the importance of how combining a holistic approach to menopause can really help with our future health. 

Dr Charlotte Gooding is a British Menopause Society accredited Menopause Specialist and experienced GP who works in both the NHS, running a menopause service for breast cancer patients, and privately at Menopause Care Ltd where she can see patients from all over the UK via video link.  

Midlife for women can be hugely overwhelming – we are often juggling careers, families, and caring for elderly relatives in a society that puts a lot of pressure on women to do all of this and do it seamlessly – the mental load we are under is huge! It’s no surprise then that women feel emotionally and physically exhausted, add to that the fluctuating hormone levels in perimenopause and it’s easy to see how sometimes they can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back!”  

Women who come to clinic may be struggling with all sorts of symptoms related to their changing levels of hormones; from the more well recognised hot flushes and night sweats to the less talked about symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, rage, sleep issues, bladder problems and issues with sex and vulval and vaginal dryness.”  

“Symptoms can impact all areas of our lives – work, relationships and also our health which is why looking after ourselves in midlife is really important. Whilst some women want to take HRT to support their hormonal changes there are others that don’t or who are unable to use hormones. It’s important that everyone has access to information and support. There is no ‘golden elixir or quick fix and my role is to support women to look at the evidence and the options available and find things that work for them, as everyone is different. I really believe it’s important to take a holistic approach to menopause care and to midlife health in general. As well as looking at hormones it’s important to value the role of sleep, nutrition, movement and relaxation in order to not just help perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, but to live well through midlife and beyond and protect our health for the future.”  

“In Japan menopause is described as a ‘second spring’, it’s great to see women flourish and thrive with the right support and find themselves again. For me it’s about breaking down the stigmas and shame around menopause and ageing in women, and supporting women to be the best version of themselves so they can live the next decades of their lives well.”  

We asked Dr Charlotte to put together a package of items she’d pick for women in this rush hour/midlife phase: 

“I was so excited to curate this box with Steph and DBHF as I really enjoy sending meaningful gifts to people that support them at trickly times in their lives – in fact all the things I’ve chosen to include, I’ve gifted to friends before.  

The products in this box are all about taking some time to yourself, prioritising your needs and filling your own cup, all of which is a great place to start in ensuring good mental and physical health moving through midlife and beyond.” 

Spacemask: “There is nothing more relaxing than popping on one of these and escaping our busy lives. I find them particularly soothing if I am struggling with a migraine or feeling overwhelmed. It’s a little act of self love.” 

Notebook: “These can be very helpful in midlife – I have several on the go! I have one that I use for journaling which can be very helpful to record thoughts and feelings, it can allow the mind to process what is happening. It can also be used for gratitude practice which has been proven to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing.  

The other great thing that a notebook can be used for is lists – women often struggle to remember things in perimenopause/menopause so carrying a notebook can be particularly helpful for keeping track of tasks.”  

Alcohol-Free Bubbly: “Alcohol can have a huge impact on anxiety, sleep and menopausal hot flushes, so switching your usual alcoholic drink for something non-alcoholic can have a really positive effect but still feel like a treat.”  

Wise Words for Women: “The first time I heard Donna’s words read out it felt like someone had gone in and touched my soul. She has the incredible ability to say just what we need to hear; it’s so soothing yet empowering at the same time – the two things we all need in midlife! I’ve gifted lots of these to special women in my life.”  

Candle: “I’m a big fan of a mindful moment. Women are often carrying a huge mental load, we are often dealing with one stressful thought after another giving our stress response little time to down regulate, and over time this builds up leading to chronic stress which has detrimental effects on both physical and mental health.  

Often huge time consuming rituals can seem like ‘another thing to add to the list’ so I encourage people to have mindful moments – small acts, such as lighting a candle or doing a few breathing exercises whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, just to reconnect and check in with their body and mind, not necessarily acting on things but acknowledging them and allowing them to be.”  

To recreate Dr Charlotte’s Midlife Box Selection, or to create something completely bespoke for a friend or loved one, head to our Create Your Own Gift Box.

For more information on Dr Gooding and the clinic, visit www.menopausecare.co.uk  

Find her on social media @drcharlottegooding  

For further information and support check out @menopause_care, @dr_naomipotter and ‘Menopausing’ By Davina McCall and Dr Naomi Potter