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Lorraine Candy: how to make your midlife magnificent

Podcaster, author and journalist Lorraine Candy returns to the podcast this week to talk about thriving in midlife and the importance of sharing menopause knowledge and spreading awareness.

Lorraine is co-host of the popular podcast series Postcards from Midlife, which often looks at the Generation X experience of the perimenopause and menopause. In this episode, she joins Dr Louise to discuss her new book What’s Wrong With Me? 101 Things Midlife Women Need to Know, which is a compelling and reassuring account of how to live a magnificent midlife. The book draws on many women’s experiences to look at the emotional side of midlife and how our identity as women can change during this time.

 Lorraine shares three reasons you should buy her new book:

1. It will make you laugh – which is always important.

2. It is packed full of expert advice that can support you to change your life in midlife.

3. Find out more about the emotional changes and impact of midlife, looking at how your identity can change in your 40s and 50s.

Click here for more details on Lorraine’s new book. You can access the Podcasts from Midlife podcast here and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Dr Louise Newson: [00:00:09] Hello, I’m Dr Louise Newson and welcome to my podcast. I’m a GP and menopause specialist and I run the Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre here in Stratford-upon-Avon. I’m also the founder of the Menopause Charity and the menopause support app called balance. On the podcast, I will be joined each week by an exciting guest to help provide evidence-based information and advice about both the perimenopause and the menopause. Today on the podcast, I’ve got someone back for the second time actually, Lorraine Candy, who I’ve known for a few years now, and the work she’s done vocally and behind the scenes to help more menopausal women be empowered with information has been very phenomenal and exciting. So welcome, Lorraine, today to the podcast.

Lorraine Candy: [00:01:05] Oh, it’s lovely to be back. I love talking to you about this because I think it’s always helpful, isn’t it, for people.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:01:10] Course it is. So you do your own podcast and I know when I’m on other people’s podcasts, it’s a bit weird being on the other side of the fence, almost, isn’t it?

Lorraine Candy: [00:01:18] It is, yeah, it is. But I am sort of on a book tour, so I’m kind of in that mode at the moment.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:01:25] Yes.

Lorraine Candy: [00:01:26] I mean, just don’t let me interview you. That’s the main thing.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:01:29] Yes. Well, I’ll talk about your book in a bit. Your new book that’s just come out, what’s Wrong With Me? But before that, you’ve not always been an author and a podcast person have you?

Lorraine Candy: [00:01:42] No.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:01:42] Just, I’m really keen to hear how you got into what you’re doing. And I know with lots of things, including myself, it’s your own experiences that shape what you do, and I think that’s probably a bit sexist, maybe, maybe more for women as well. Actually, I could not do the work I’m doing if I wasn’t a menopausal woman who struggled to get help. And you probably, I don’t think you could write your books if you never had children. Well, you might have done, but they wouldn’t be nearly as good. So tell me a bit about how you’ve come to doing what you do.

Lorraine Candy: [00:02:11] Well, just in context of my background. So I grew up in a very small village in Cornwall, went to a local comprehensive, always wanted to edit magazines and be a journalist, spent my life in the library, basically, the local library. I won a writing award when I was 16 and doing my GCSEs, about to do my A-levels, and that got me a little bit of work experience on the local paper. So I went and did some work experience over the summer on The Cornish Times, and I just thought, you know, I’m not academically gifted. What’s the point of doing A-levels? I might as well take this job and then I’ll be able to get on a paper in London. And I came up to London the following year when I was 17. So I then worked as a journalist and I worked on the Sun, The Times. I was features editor on The Times and the Daily Mirror and a newspaper called Today, and I kind of learnt my skills as a journalist then, and that’s where I learnt to write. But my main interest was women’s stories and, you know, telling women’s stories. And when I started I did a lot of stuff around, I interviewed the first woman who took her husband to court for marital rape. I interviewed one of the women whose imprisonment after she killed her husband after years of domestic violence, it was awful, Sara Thornton. And I interviewed her in prison and we did a campaign that changed laws. So all through the beginning of my journalism, it’s always been about women’s stories. And then I moved on to edit Cosmo and also Elle, where I stayed for 12 years and then Sunday Times Style. So throughout that whole time, my writing really has been very focused on women and obviously when you edit a magazine, you have a community of women around you who come with you and grow up with you. So I’ve had a huge community of Gen-X women basically, and when I hit perimenopause… well, two things happened when I hit my mid-40s and my children became teenagers, I thought, this is really unusual why are teenagers so awful and what can possibly be going on? I better find out. And obviously, you know, what is going on is their brain is being taken apart and put back together again. They are full of hormones and all sorts of things are happening. So I wrote a parenting book on why you shouldn’t be ambushed by this. And there are some very small, simple, easy ways of parenting that will make everyone’s life easier. Tried to make it funny. And at the same time, I was also going through what I found out was perimenopause. So I thought, I don’t understand why I’m ambushed by this when I’ve been writing, you know, probably specialising in health, mental health as a journalist. And I had not heard the term and I just couldn’t see how it could be fair of me not to put that into a book. And at the same time, I was chatting to a friend of mine, Trish Halpin, who edited Marie Claire, Red and InStyle, and we’d known each other 25 years and we were going through exactly the same thing, exchanging Whatsapps on our… Did we have a brain tumour? Perhaps we had dementia. Maybe these palpitations were to do with heart disease, maybe we had all these things, but neither of us knew that we were going through the perimenopause. So once we found that out, we thought, well, why don’t we do this new podcasting thing that everyone’s doing? Because it’s something to chat, that’s easier to chat about. And also I couldn’t, as I said to you at the time, I couldn’t get any stories in the papers about menopause and perimenopause, editors just didn’t want to read it. They were very against it. So we set up Postcards from Midlife because we thought it’s, you know, midlife is about more than just menopause and perimenopause. It’s really a hugely transformational stage of life. And there’s so much change. We’ll just talk to all the experts. And we sort of rang all our friends, kind of celebrities we dealt with. And women were desperate to come and talk about this stage of life. They’d never been asked about it. You know, we didn’t have to say, you’re going to have to talk about perimenopause and menopause. We said, can you come on and talk about, you know, getting into your 40s and 50s? And they said, brilliant. And we were getting so many new stories and we realised they just hadn’t been asked about this stage of life. Women were kind of invisible. So that’s kind of the context of where I sit now. Podcasting and authoring.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:05:57] It’s very interesting, isn’t it? And I mean, I never understood because I was never taught the psychological impact of menopause, but I was also never taught how hard it was to have teenage children. And you’re absolutely right, when it’s all happening together as women, this is a generalisation, of course, but certainly my personality is I blame myself if things aren’t right. I don’t look at others and think maybe it’s them, it’s like, well, my daughter’s shouting at me, that’s my fault, I’m a bad mother. Rather than actually there’s things going on with her.

Lorraine Candy: [00:06:27] I think that was the overwhelming thing, this shame. This is why the previous generation, I can only conclude, this is why the previous generation haven’t talked to us about it because they feel a bit ashamed. So you slightly lose your confidence and then you feel ashamed of the things that you’re going through. Have you looked after your parents well enough now they are beginning to get ill? Is the whole family getting on? Is, are you a good enough parent? You must not be because you’ve created this terrible person. But that’s just what teenagers are like.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:06:56] Well, I think so. And your book, Mum, What’s Wrong With You? was amazing because actually I remember you’ve got a thing about, it’s all about choosing your battles, isn’t it? You know, you were saying about piercings and tattoos and at the time I read it, my children only had the conventional two piercings and no tattoos. Moving forwards a few years, especially my older daughter’s got quite a few tattoos, and both of them have got certainly more than two piercings. And I’m actually really relaxed about it, and it’s probably partly thanks to you Lorraine, because I thought actually the bigger picture, does it matter? Their expressing themselves, it’s their choice. So I have to say to my 18 year old, I have no control over you. I hope I’ve given you morals and values that you can pull on, but it’s up to you what you do. Of course it is. And it’s having that ability, but you have to have a lot of mental strength to do that and you have to have a lot of ability to still be in control from afar. But it’s all mind games, a lot of this. But if your mind isn’t working properly, usually affected by not having hormones, it’s really difficult. Women then set themselves up to fail. And I think also this whole invisibility, some of you might have heard the podcast I’ve done with Joanne Harris, and how society wants people to be invisible. And I think what you’re doing and what I’m doing, what others are doing are allowing women to have a voice. And there’s all this thing, isn’t there? It’s very, even again, a generalisation, journalists are quite paternalistic. They’ll tell you what they think the audience want to hear. So I remember when we first met face to face, you were writing this article for the Sunday Times Style magazine, and you almost had to get it in in a different way.

Lorraine Candy: [00:08:32] I put it in the Trojan horse of the spa special.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:08:35] Yes. And we don’t want to upset our readers, but actually women are desperate to be unlocked and to have this platform where, you know, it’s almost that the celebrities don’t want to show that they’re being old. But actually others want to know how, even if you’ve got all the money and all the fame and all everything else, you can still struggle. And this is what’s helped you. And I think that’s with your podcast has really helped, isn’t it? You’re having quite high profile people having normal stories, which really helps, doesn’t it, when you’re a normal person with the same problems.

Lorraine Candy: [00:09:10] We all go through the same you know, we all go through some form of changes at this stage in life. We all lose our collagen and our muscle mass, and so we’re all experiencing it. But you do need role models culturally in order to see that it’s not something that’s happening to you alone. And actually, until the last five years, there have been no cultural role models. I mean, Joanne Harris’ book actually, because the protagonist is a menopausal woman, isn’t she? So they haven’t been in books. They haven’t been on TV. You know, we had Juliet Stevenson, the actress on the podcast, and she said that for ages she just couldn’t tell people her age, not because she didn’t want to, because she was grateful to be ageing and, you know, not be ill. The alternative is so awful to not ageing. But she said she couldn’t because it limited everything she would have done. And actually she said her last four roles, one of whom she’d won an award for in theatre, had been the best roles of her life and she’d done the most amazing work. And to take that away from women, as has been the case, you know, to only see older men able to marry younger women on screen. In the big blockbusters to only see Marvel heroes who are under 40, unless they’re male, is quite extraordinary. But now that is changing. I mean, it’s slightly slower than we would hope, but it is changing. And women are in better positions of power to change that. But they know what they’re talking about as well. So I think that’s the interesting thing. When you’ve got older women talking about menopause and perimenopause, that’s really, really helpful. And it also helps men shape the conversation as well. As we know this country is a patriarchy and the men are in the positions of power in most industries they are on the board level in a way that women aren’t, in much bigger numbers. So they need to know about it, so they need to see it as well.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:10:54] I think it’s so important and I think one of the things that’s certainly causing a lot of unrest certainly in the medical establishment with some of my work is because women patients are having information that they’ve never had before. So I was in a meeting this morning, actually, and someone was saying they really worry, these GPs – we’ve just done some research with balance how it can help the GP consultation – and it’s shown that it can really help and be very beneficial. But some of the GP’s are saying, well, we’re really worried that women are self-diagnosing and they might miss other diseases. So for example, if someone has palpitations, everybody should be referred to a cardiologist, have their heart checked before considering the menopause. Or everybody with memory problems should have a brain scan to make sure they’ve not got a brain tumour. And it’s like, no, hang on, let women decide actually, because a lot of women know when they’ve been given the information. And of course some people might have a brain tumour, of course some people might have heart problems, but we can still think about the menopause as well and we can still self-diagnose and we can still actually have treatment whether we need more investigations or not. And certainly for palpitations, if I referred everybody with palpitations to a cardiologist, the system would be flooded. But even if I did, just because some people obviously do still need to be referred, but they started treatment at the same time. Most people’s palpitations melt away, by the time they’ve got their appointment through. So we can work together. And I think with the menopause it’s always gone the other way that it’s sort of them and us and it’s causing this big divide actually with women sometimes, but also with with medical professionals because they see the menopause as a bit of a lifestyle problem. But actually we can work together so patients can, and women, can actually enable the conversation to get treatment earlier, but also look at their whole future health and lifestyle as well. And now it’s not just about do I just go and get a prescription, It’s actually where do I start my conversation to relook at my diet, my exercise, the way that I talk to my husband every night when he comes in from work, the way I manage my children, if they’re difficult and piecing all that together is actually a huge thing. And I think one of the things that with the podcast, with the work you’re doing is enabling people to have a bit of time for themselves, actually, isn’t it?

Lorraine Candy: [00:13:17] Well, so, you know, the thing I, with the new book, I interviewed lots and lots of women, obviously I interviewed you, around the more mental health aspects of it. So once you’ve got your HRT, there is still a lot going on in midlife. You know, it’s not as you say, it’s not just physical. And I just think women needed the language to know that. Actually, as one of the therapists we had, I talked to Julia Samuel, who said there is a softening that needs to occur. Gen-X women are very bad at it. We have a real endurance mindset. We have this do it all, have it all, you know, must be home, must be at work, must do this, must do that mindset generally. But we get to this stage and all women just need to soften slightly, be more vulnerable so they can ask for help because you really can’t do it on your own. And actually the help that you get is generally from other women. That kind of connection to other women in a similar situation. I’ve made an awful lot of new friends in midlife of women who are going through a similar thing. I do a lot of swimming, I meet them sort of by lakes and rivers and seas and things, and we have a shared identity and it’s really helpful that they have bits of knowledge I don’t have, but I only get that if I soften towards them and if I’m slightly more open and vulnerable. And I hadn’t really thought of that as part of the jigsaw. And I do really think it is part of the jigsaw because it’s not, you know, you’re not going from a to b in midlife. It’s so much more squiggly and you can’t see the road ahead. I interviewed an amazing woman for the book anonymously who shared a phenomenal story, and she was saying that she just for ages, you can see round the corner or you can see up ahead of you and then suddenly you just can’t see anything. You’re just hitting a wall and you don’t know what the next bit might be. You don’t know whether you’re going to be in the same marriage. You don’t know if you’re going to live in the same country. You suddenly become such a giant change and you have nothing to see ahead of you. So unless you soften and get more vulnerable, it’s going to be a little harder to navigate it.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:15:11] I think so. And it’s having the flexibility, isn’t it, because there’s so much more that’s out of your control or there certainly is in my life. You know, I think I’ve just sorted this out perfect. And then suddenly my daughter phones me and there’s a problem. All right. Okay. You go from one thing to another and you have to pivot quite quickly when you’ve got children and other issues.

Lorraine Candy: [00:15:32] You do, it just feels, and they’re not small problems. You know, when they were toddlers and you might have to go and pick them up from school because they had a rash, and these are…

Dr Louise Newson: [00:15:40] Oh, wasn’t that easy [laughs].

Lorraine Candy: [00:15:41] Massive things, you know, and people are dying as well around you. I mean, we lose people at this stage of life. So we may be dealing with grief for the first time. We are watching some of our friends leaving marriages. We are watching our friends being made redundant. And all of this is happening and it catches you unawares. And I don’t think we talk enough about it. And we we don’t want to portray it as a frightening, terrible time for women. We just want to say, you know, all these things may happen. So, you know, get your head around it, get the language around it, get the support you need, and then you can be in a better place. Because in in midlife, actually, I’m the most confident, happy, calmest, healthiest I’ve ever been. [00:16:20][38.9]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:16:21] And I think so. But I think you also have to be because you’re dealing with so much more than you were before. So your new book, What’s Wrong With Me, is very powerful and it does address so many more things, which I think having tools to cope with more because more is fired at us, as we’ve already said, is really useful, isn’t it? So why did you decide to write the book then, Lorraine?

Lorraine Candy: [00:16:43] Well, we’ve done, I think, 120 interviews or something of women and experts on the podcast and all that information was there. And I thought, I better share that. We should share that. And I didn’t want to do the kind of, you know, you’ve written the most brilliant medical helpful book on, you know, physically and mentally, what’s going on. And I just thought it would be worth just pulling stories together, other women’s stories together. So, you know, the main drive for me was I just didn’t want anyone to feel alone. And I think that’s the we know that’s the saddest, most lost, but, you know, you can be surrounded by family but still feel terribly alone in midlife. And I think we had spoken to so many women on the podcast, and we have a private Facebook group who told us really, really sad stories and they felt so lonely. And I thought, well, let’s just put it all together in a place so that there is, you know, you can dip in and dip out. And it’s a bit funny in places, but you’ll get this sense that it’s not you going mad and that you’re not alone, that there’s a massive army of women going through it with you, which, you know, it’s a little bit like childbirth, isn’t it? I always remember when I was breastfeeding in the middle of the night and at my wits end because it didn’t, for my first two, it didn’t really work very well. And I remember being up in the night thinking, at least I’m not on my own. I know millions of women are doing this across the world and there was so much information out there for me and I could join a baby group or I could go and meet a woman who’d had a baby on the same day that I had had the same problems with me. It was so accessible. But when I was waking up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat with night terrors, I thought I was going mad. I was completely on my own. I thought, this is yeah, you know, I have some form of psychosis. As it turns out, there’s an army of women waking up in the night with night terrors until they get their HRT. So, you know, we’re not alone. And I think that was my main thing for the book, that you don’t have to feel like you’re alone. There is a language out there that you can use, there is information out there and other women. Almost every woman over 40 is going through it with you. So that was the driver for me. I can’t say I enjoyed the process very much. I’m not good at writing books. I hate being trapped in a room for a long time. And I think the ladies at Swiss Cottage Library were quite glad to see the back of me after a while.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:18:54] So it’s no mean feat. Writing a book is it, it is hard. I don’t know if you, every time you reread a draft, you think, now I want to change it, I want to change it. And there’s always things that you can perfect and improve and wish you had done. And but then it’s here. You must be very proud of it.

Lorraine Candy: [00:19:09] I was really proud. We had the launch and a little party last night at Daunt’s books in Marylebone, and it’s a really lovely bookshop that I’ve spent a lot of time in over the years. It’s a little cult bookshop and to see your own book in the window is just quite a wonderful thing, especially for someone you know, because I was not academically great at school and there were not high hopes for me to get to university. So to actually think that maybe, you know, I never thought one day I’d be able to write a book and, you know, it’s here, it lives forever. You make a stamp on history, I’m part of a big conversation that women are having at the minute. So it was, I was actually really proud. I took one of my daughters, but she went halfway through because she said, I need to bounce, it’s boring in here, she said, But, you know, I think it’s so lovely for them to see that you don’t have, there is a different route to things in life as well that you don’t…. the jobs I’ve done haven’t been reliant on me having a degree or being uber-educated or, you know – it’s just being a journalist is being curious. And I feel I was curious enough to find out more from other women, put it all in a book, and now it lives. And the cover of the book, it really did pull midlife women together, so the cover of the book is designed by an illustrator from The New York Times. She’s Amrita Marino, she’s amazing. And I had to have a chat with her about it for her to design it. She’s a big colourful illustrator and then managed to get her to go and see a GP in New York about HRT. She won’t mind me saying she wanted to, she needed, there’s very little information in the States in the way that there is here. So I sort of feel like everywhere anyone involved, you know, my editor, Louise, who edited the first book with me, is a woman in her fifties as well. And, you know, we bonded over everything I talk about in the book. So it feels like it was put together by friends for friends. And I made friends doing it. So, you know, it feels like a very lovely thing to put out in the world.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:21:10] Yeah, it’s amazing, isn’t it? When I when my book came out, Yellow Kite’s my publisher, and I went and did a presentation to them about the menopause, and there were, I don’t know, 100 or so people in the room. And then they did it on Teams as well. And I thought everyone must know about it because it’s my book, they must have prepared, and still the questions asked and the tears in the audience, because it’s that realisation that it’s you, it’s always there. And it’s, I think, the more I work, the more I try and amplify my voice, but the more I realise there are lots of people that we’re not reaching.

Lorraine Candy: [00:21:43] Well, I spoke to a woman on Monday night. I did an event on Monday night with Christie Watson who wrote Quilt On Fire, which is about her midlife experience. She’s ten years younger. And a lady came up to me at the end. She said she works for a big city bank. How could I advise her to stop the men in her office making fun of her when she had hot flushes? And I thought, Oh, I’ve been talking about this now for, you know we, Trish and I, go and talk to corporations and I said, that is still happening? She said, oh yeah, well, they’ll open a window and say, oh, we’re doing this for so-and-so because she’s, look at her, she’s flushing away over there. She said, they mock me and make fun of me. And she said, they do it in a kind of as if they’re being friendly and including me. In their minds, she said, they think they’re being helpful talking about the menopause. And it’s really unkind. And I think it’s just…they’re not being helpful, but they’re not being malicious. They’re being ignorant. And as you said, to still be hearing that from women, you know, for years we’ve been going around talking about it. I was quite surprised that, you know, just two days ago someone said, the men in my office are making fun of me for having hot flushes. What do I say to them? I mean, you know it’s not good.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:22:48] And it happens all the time, doesn’t it? You know, the NICE menopause guidance came out seven years ago, you know. Yesterday, I saw someone in the clinic the who told me their GP said, you’ve just got to get through it. There isn’t any treatment. So the impact that it’s having is still we’ve got to amplify, and I think, you know, the work that people are doing in different ways is really important, but it’s allowing people to have what’s right for them. I think now it’s become so toxic in some areas that it’s always like, well, all Louise does is push HRT. Well, actually, no, I’m not. I’m just allowing women to have a choice. And that’s really important. And it’s the same with, you know, your work, the books, everything is. You can choose to read the book. You can choose to listen to any podcast. We’re not ramming it down people’s throats. But actually what we are realising is that we’re, it’s like picking up a stone and seeing everything underneath and then you pick up more and more and you realise that we’re, we’re just opening something that’s not been allowed to be open before and it’s actually very liberating, but I spend time feeling I’m quite naughty doing what I’m doing, but it’s quite liberating as well for those people that we can reach. And last weekend, you very kindly invited me to be part of this most amazing conference. Well, conference? Not really a conference, an event.

Lorraine Candy: [00:24:01] Festival I think we called it in the end.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:24:03] Festival, it was a festival. Which was really interesting to be there witnessing. Obviously, you had, what, 80 speakers. I mean, this is your first event.

Lorraine Candy: [00:24:13] We had 95 speakers, yeah. The first big midlife event for midlife women. [00:24:18][5.1]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:24:18] Yeah. So most people, when they do their first event, they wouldn’t call it a festival at first and it will be something quite small, that you do. But you just suddenly decided to do like the biggest event ever. So 95 speakers. How many people came? About 2,000?

Lorraine Candy: [00:24:34] We’re still doing a what they call a mop up on it this week, more than 2,000, I think. Yeah. So it was a ticketed thing with, you know, different rooms and, you know, we kind of hoped that women would want to go to everything and it was hard to programme it. But, you know, we would have a room full of 300, 400 people when we were interviewing. But the other rooms were careers, parenting, and there’s so much thirst out there for knowledge about this stage of life and people just aren’t talking about it. They tend to talk about it in terms of career or the crisis that people go through. But it isn’t really a crisis, is it? It’s an opportunity. And it’s good to know everything.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:25:12] Yeah. And I felt that there was this opportunity because there was this opportunity to do a bit of shopping. I was looking at the people doing face massages and I thought I would love to be there, but so many people kept recognising me I just had to keep going, hiding. But it was a real joyous occasion actually. And I felt that sometimes you go to these events and you’re all in your own little cocoon and you’re doing your own thing, but everyone was looking around and smiling and sharing and you know, it was as if they were friends coming together. And that’s the community that you and Trish have magically created. And you must have been so proud of how it went, because it really was spectacular.

Lorraine Candy: [00:25:49] We were immensely proud, actually, because almost everyone we talked to was very tearful by the end of the conversation, they were tearful because they, you know, if we hadn’t listened to you, we wouldn’t have seen our GPs. We wouldn’t be on HRT. We had a woman who said she would have left her, I mean, you’ve heard these stories again and again. I would have left my marriage. I would have left my job. We met two firefighters, female firefighters who came to find us to tell us that I think its Staffordshire Fire Service had paid for them to go to the festival because they wanted to get some information on how to talk to women about what they were going…and they wanted these two members of the team to be experts on it. So could they go and get…and I thought that is kind of incredibly amazing, actually, that, you know, this has become part of the conversation in a very practical way. And we had, we met some women from the Facebook group as well, actually, who are very interactive. And we have some experts on the group who are tagged and they help out where they can. And they were all saying the same things. We’ve come with our friends. This is just so lovely. We had a woman come from Norway who came on her own and she’d put on the Facebook group, please will someone come and chat to me because I’ll sit in the cafe and I’ve come all this way on my own. It’s my first holiday that I’ve had on my own, but I’ve been through a horrific menopause. I’d quite like to meet other women and honestly, to see them all back up around her and say, Yeah, I will meet you at 10 o’ clock, you can come to this talk with me. It was a real sort of gathering of stylish, like-minded Gen-X, mostly Gen X, I thought there were quite a few younger women actually, women who just really wanted to support each other, get information and just get on with living their best lives. It felt really powerful, but also very teary. And I’m sure you, you had the balance team there, and I know when I talked to them, they said they’d had lots of women in tears about what was going on and how they were dealing with.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:27:35] Well, yeah, especially when we did the, you were interviewing me, and then afterwards we both said, go to the balance lounge. And I had a couple of doctors there and they were completely swamped. But it’s a two way thing. I think there’s a real mixture. There’s those women who are so grateful, and I hear it a lot from women with the utmost respect, saying, you know, you’ve saved my life, you’ve saved my marriage, you’ve saved my job, and not, some of them are patients, but a lot of them it’s just because they’ve got the realisation and they’ve gone and got the treatment they want. But then there’s, there’s others who you can tell by looking at them they are absolutely, almost distraught because they’re realising what’s happened to them. It’s that lightbulb moment and it’s that fear and panic and desperation. How am I going to get help? I can’t get help. And I, it’s almost like a form of torture, that is happening for some women because they they know what’s going on, they really know what treatment they want and they can’t get it. And those are the people that are still there. And obviously a lot of the work we’re doing is trying to help give them a voice, give them confidence so they’re not alone so they can become better advocates, so they can go see the right healthcare professional to get the treatment that they want.

Lorraine Candy: [00:28:44] Yeah, I mean, I think that’s the key. You can say to you, you need HRT or you need to do this, that whatever your lifestyle changes, but you’ve still got to find the right doctor. You’ve got to take someone with you. You’ve got to take in a list of your symptoms because the chances are you’re not going to get the right dose or the right information. It’s a shame. I know most GPs are really trying their hardest, but there’s a whole chunk of GP’s who are not trying their hardest. You’ve got to be strong enough to say, I don’t want antidepressants, you’ve really got to know. And we know for years, don’t we, that women have gone in to have things like smear tests and other things that are phenomenally painful and we’ve just put up with that. We’ve been told that’s how women should be treated. So I think you have to be quite brave. You’ve then got to navigate getting your prescription and only paying for it once. You’ve got to get that all sorted as well. You’ve got to navigate going back after three months, you’ve got to… it’s harder than just getting the help. We and you can see that sort of confusion and desperation in people’s faces, can’t you, sometimes when they say, I just don’t know what to do. And then, you know, they’ve got to find out about testosterone, then they’ve got to find out about the shortages and where they can and cannot get things. So it still feels like a bit of an upward battle. While we know the words and the language and the information we’re still struggling to get it, I think. I spoke to a woman on Monday night at an event, and when I explained why that misleading survey 21 years ago, her mouth just dropped open and she said, I can’t, I can’t believe that. What you mean, I could have been – she was in her 70s – and she said so I could have taken HRT? So I would have been okay? I went through the most awful time and I could have been. I said, yeah, you, you could, you could. And it’s terrible, isn’t it?

Dr Louise Newson: [00:30:26] It is awful. It’s absolute.So we need to change it for not just for our generation, but for future generations as well. So very grateful for your time today. And before you go, three take home tips, of course. So I’d just like three reasons why people listening should go and buy your book.

Lorraine Candy: [00:30:43] Right. Well, the first reason, it will make you laugh, which I think is like the main thing we need to, you know, because we do tend to humour in midlife. The second reason is if there’s an expert, a leading expert, I’ve interviewed them, so the information is there, so the language is there for you to use if you want to change your life. And a third reason is this book is about the emotional side of midlife. So you’ll get the practical information, but you’ll also get what’s going on with you inside. And it’s about forming your own identity. And we don’t talk about that enough. But the identity of women as they change as they go through this very powerful part of life is really important and you don’t want to get it wrong, you don’t want to make mistakes. And you will read stories of other women who’ve gone through it. So you’ll be able to see if what they experience will be helpful to you. I hope that helps.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:31:34] Very good. So it is available on Amazon. All good bookshops, including Daunt’s, my favourite bookshop in the world. So thanks ever so much. And keep going with your work, you and Trish. It’s brilliant. Phenomenal duo. So thanks very much, Lorraine.

Lorraine Candy: [00:31:44] Thank you, Louise. Thank you for leading the revolution.

Dr Louise Newson: [00:31:47] Thank you. For more information about the perimenopause and menopause, please visit my website Or you can download the free balance app, which is available to download from the App Store or from Google Play.


Lorraine Candy: how to make your midlife magnificent

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