Any woman who has experienced menopause knows how stressful this period of hormonal bungee-jumping can be.
Interior designer Meg Mathews wants women to know that shouldn’t experience the “change” alone.
Mathews made her name as the rock-chick wife of Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, but these days she’s living a more low-key life as a wallpaper designer and mother of 17-year-old Anais.
She’s also focusing her time on taking the taboo out of menopause, which she described as being a particularly rocky period in her life. The 51-year-old mum told the Mirror: “I want to make menopause less of a taboo. When I went through it myself a year ago, it was horrendous. We need to look at how to discuss it with your partner and children.”
Mathews recounted her experience with menopause the previous year, which included being gripped with anxiety for six weeks.
Most women are aware of the effects of menopause: hot flushes, irregular periods which eventually stop, fatigue, memory loss.
But Mathews wants the topic to be discussed openly so that women don’t suffer it alone: “Menopause can be a very lonely place. So I want to put as much information out there as possible and make it like a sisterhood. Your brain can get muddled and you can feel overwhelmed.”
She says the days of women bottling up their struggle with ‘the change’ should be a thing of the past, and plans to ‘give back’ to women by encouraging the next generation of women facing menopause: “I’m about to write a magazine column about menopause. I want to help women deal with that. I want to give back to women, so when the next generation goes through it, they don’t feel scared.”
As your ovaries age and release fewer hormones, follicle-stimulating hormones and lutinising hormones which work during reproduction can no longer perform their usual functions to regulate your oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These inevitable changes in your hormones and natural decline of oestrogen levels during menopause can significantly affect your health for years to come. Mathews deals with her bodily changes in a number of ways - hormonal re-balancing supplements, a therapist, an acupuncturist and a strict diet.
We can’t all have an acupuncturist or make time for a therapist, but she advises women to take blood tests to monitor hormone levels.
“Once you get your hormone balance back to normal, your hair starts growing and your skin feels supple,” she says. “I’ve tried all the hormones, including HRT. I was very lucky to find one that suits me.
“There are lots of products on the market, and I think you need to try them and see what works for you.”
Mathews previously spent time in rehab for alcoholism, and she’s kept a disciplined approach to all aspects of her diet.
“I don’t do any sugar, dairy, gluten or caffeine,” she says. “I don’t drink alcohol either, not at all."
This limited diet might not appeal to all women, but Mathews says light, daily exercise is key: “When you get the menopause, you automatically put on weight and you don’t feel like exercising... That can make you feel depressed.
“You feel like doing nothing, but my advice would be to try and walk for 20 minutes a day. I take my dogs for a walk and it helps massively.”