Menopause – the burning issue

Former Eastbourne head teacher Jane Midwinter is the founder of HotWomenAtMenopause, an associate trainer with Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace and is a menopause coach. 

She writes articles on menopause for women and their employers and is a member of the British Menopause Society.

Next month Jane will launch a new column written specially for Hastings In Focus this month, in recognition of World Menopause Day she gives us a flavour of what we can expect…

Hands up if you know a woman.  If you do, read on… 

In celebration of World Menopause Day, this Sunday October 18th, here’s a ‘tasty teaser’ of my brand-new monthly column!

Six facts about Menopause: 

  • Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause
  • Menopause is the day after one period-free year
  • Post menopause is the time after that
  • The average age of menopause for women in the UK is 51 and for some women it can be much younger
  • Symptoms can start approximately four to five years before menopause and can go on well into a woman’s post-menopausal years 
  • The hormones oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate and decline around the time of menopause


I will be addressing a wide range of menopause related topics. Here are some answers to a few frequently asked questions:

I’m so tired.  Is this the menopause?

You may be perimenopausal. Symptoms vary from one woman to another. 

Just as women have different experiences with their periods, it follows that we can have different menopause symptoms too. And while most women do experience symptoms, there are a small number of women who sail through their menopause without experiencing any at all!

There are about 34 well known symptoms and tiredness is one of them.  But don’t panic, you’ll be relieved to hear that it’s highly unlikely for a woman to experience all of them, and certainly not all at once!  However, menopause can feel overwhelming, can come as a shock, or become more difficult to deal with as symptoms mount and time goes by.

The thing is, you don’t have to ‘put up with it’ – there really is no need.  Up until quite recently, menopause wasn’t talked about.  Thanks to some brilliant people that are transforming workplace menopause support and to some of our best-loved celebrities, including Mariella Frostrup, with her groundbreaking TV programme The Truth About…The Menopause, attitudes are changing.  

So, what can I do?

Insomnia during menopause is often due to hot flushes and/or night sweats, which can wake you up and then infuriatingly keep you awake!  However, insomnia can be due to other issues and it is therefore best to initially talk to your GP to get checked out.  

Good nutrition is important.

What every woman needs to know is that she has a choice about how she manages her menopause symptoms. Once you know you’re perimenopausal, you can then consider your options.  There is the medical route – where HRT can be a brilliant option and low risk for the majority of women under 60 – or there is the natural route, where supplements can be taken and perhaps a few lifestyle changes made. Both routes can be very effective, but good nutrition and exercise has an important part to play, whatever choices we make … and wising up on cortisol – the stress hormone – was hugely helpful for me.

Unfortunately, too many women are still not getting the right information or support they need.  Women frequently tell me their sad and appalling stories and that’s just not good enough when it’s their health at stake!  It’s pretty shocking that there are still a large number of women who suffer in silence, have to take time off work (some even stopping altogether), or spend their days struggling to get through to bedtime … and then they may not even be able to sleep well.

How will I benefit from reading your column?

Each month, my column, ‘The Burning Issue’ will discuss a topic around menopause.  It will be packed full of solutions to symptoms, suggestions on how to prepare for tricky conversations, signposting to accurate information and top tips to look and feel your best.  I will also be sharing some of my very own tried and tested recipes to support nutrition at menopause.

‘The Burning Issue’ is aimed at women who are experiencing difficult issues with their menopause and need to get their symptoms under control, and it’s also for those who want a better understanding of menopause and how to support women at this time. 

The Burning Issue will run monthly, starting Friday November 6th

Some useful links


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