Author Archives: fiona clark

Menopause – the messy bits

From flash flood bleeding to fibroids and polyps – menopause can be messy. Dr Carys Sonnenberg explains what’s going on.   We women go through a lot around menopause and our hormones play a big role in quite a few of them. Our periods can change. They can become lighter, heavier, closer together or further apart – of a combination of all of these. Beyond the irregular bleeding there can be flash floods of heavy bleeding or even unexplained bleeding. Then there are conditions like Endometriosis, or adenomyosis that can cause heavy bleeding and pain. and that’s not all, there…

The Gender Pain Gap – Can We Close It?

The gender (and racial) pain gap – it’s not new, but can we close it?  (Warning – skip the first few paragraphs if you have a weak stomach!)   In 1808 a physician called John Rutter gave a talk to colleagues in Liverpool about a case of Hysteralgia – or hysterical pain. The woman he was describing was known as J.S. She died in pain at the age of 78 and, at her request, an autopsy was performed. Rutter outlined her medical history as best he could. He described letters she’d written to her previous doctors since her mid 20’s…

Can Profhilo help menopausal skin?

Can skin booster treatments like Profhilo help dry, thin menopausal skin? As we age – especially as we approach menopause our skin changes. It can become thinner – almost crepe-like, dry and even itchy. So what can help? According to the doctors at skin clinic Thérapie, skin boosters – like Profhilo can make a significant difference. Its main ingredient is Hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a known skin hydrant. When we think of hyaluronic acid we usually think of fillers, but Profhilo is different – it is injected under the skin where it ‘flows’ to provide moisture to dry and…

Hitchhikers guide to skincare in your 40’s and beyond

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Skincare in Your 40s: Discover how your skin changes & what can help.   We’re often made to feel that the older we get, the less content with our physical appearance we should be. But in reality, there are so many simple ways to feel beautiful, no matter what your age—and great skincare is one of them. But navigating the complicated world of skincare as you age can be challenging, especially if it’s not your area of expertise. If you need a little guidance on how to look great at 40 and beyond, we can help.…

Sex during menopause – are you talking about it?

Sex during menopause- Are you talking about sex to your doctor? If not, you should because they can really help – but you may have to make the first move. You might have a great relationship with your doctor but you might be too embarrassed to talk about problems you’re having when it comes to sex – and, your doctor might be too. As we know, sex can become an issue around the time of menopause. Vaginal dryness can make it painful or your libido may have taken a nose dive. Sheryl Kingsburg, a clinical psychologist in the Obstetrics &…

Can diet affect your thrush

Thrush: Can your diet make a difference? It may not be a pleasant thought but your body, inside and out, is literally teeming with billions of microorganisms – some good, some not so good. Some are bacteria and some are fungi. While they are in balance, there’s no issue, but when they get out of balance they can cause irritating conditions like thrush. Thrush can occur in a number of places including your mouth and vagina – and when it’s down there it can be very irritating indeed. Candida albicans is the fungus behind thrush. According to the Centers for…

make the most of your menopause appointment

How to make the most of your GP appointment if you want to discuss menopause?   You’ve only got ten minutes, so how do you make the most of it if you want to talk to your doctor about menopause? This is a question that’s kept Dr Carys Sonnenberg awake for many nights  – tossing and turning over how she can help her patients make the most of a short consultation so they can get the right treatment plan for them as fast as possible – and she’s come up with a plan. Dr Sonnenberg says if you think your…

The overactive bladder explained

Running to the toilet more than 7 times a day? Feel the need that you have to go right now? Find out why and what you can do about it.   Most of the time we don’t pay much attention to our bladder – it just does what it does – emptying a few times a day to rid the body of waste products it doesn’t need – but – when it goes wrong, we notice! One common problem many women face, especially as oestrogen levels drop, is a feeling that they have to keep racing to the loo far…

What your skin really needs with Dr Johanna Ward

Confused about what you need in you skincare regime? Dr Johanna Ward has the answers.   With so many brands and so much conflicting advice on what you ‘must have’ in a skin care regime it’s not surprising people are confused about what they should be doing to keep their skin in good health. Fortunately Dr Johanna Ward, a self-confessed skin care ‘geek’, GP, cosmetic doctor and founder of the skin care brand ZENii, is here to help. She has two main messages when it comes to skin care: keep it simple nourish your skin from the inside as well…

The brain, menopause and HRT- what do we know?

Menopause and the mind: experts explain what’s going on, if HRT relieves symptoms & if it could prevent dementia. How many times have you walked into the kitchen and found yourself wondering what you came in for, or struggled to find words only to end up saying: “you know, the thing-a-me-jig that what’s-his-name uses’? If you’re approaching menopause or are already on the other side (post menopausal), these may be frequent and distressing occurrences. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the menopausal brain. We often find concentrating is difficult and may feel we can…

Do you need Testosterone as part of your HRT?

Dr Juliet Balfour explains why testosterone is important for women – and can be the icing on the cake when it comes to HRT.   We often think of testosterone as a ‘male only’ hormone – but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s produced in our ovaries and adrenal glands and it’s often associated with our sex drive or libido level – but it does more than that – it can help regulate mood and support the health of our reproductive tissues and our bones. “We produce less of it than men,” says menopause doctor, Juliet Balfour from…

template MP letter

Below is a template draft that you are welcome to adapt to include your own experiences and send to your local MP. Don’t forget to put your full name and address with post code on it so your MP knows you are one of their constituents. You can find contact details for your MP by searching here: https://members.parliament.uk/members/commons Feel free to use the template below, cut and paste  or take inspiration from – as you see fit in your letter to your MP. Dear XXXX I’m contacting you about the upcoming Westminster Hall Private Members Bill initiated by Carolyn Harris …

Menopause, HRT and Breast Cancer

Consultant Gynaecologist Professor Isaac Manyonda answers some frequently asked questions on menopause, HRT and breast cancer. Q: Is HRT safe? A: “There’s no doubt that the one thing what worries women when it comes to HRT is the Big C, breast cancer. When it comes to the WHI studies which were published in 2002-3, the main focus was on breast cancer and sadly there was a lot of confusion about it. “If you take 1000 women and follow them up for 5 years, 23 who are not taking HRT will get breast cancer, so it’s quite common. But if you…

HRT and Breast Cancer: what you need to know

The mere mention of HRT can spark fears of breast cancer, but should it? Breast surgeon Professor Zoe Winters and Consultant Gynacologist Jeannie Yoon set the record straight.   Navigating the Menopause can be a huge challenge for many women. It can be a strange and isolating time for some as despite being well informed, there remains a taboo about acknowledging it and discussing it openly.  Approximately 95% of women will go through the Menopause between the ages of 45 and 55 years with an average age of 51 years. The symptoms can range from minor to debilitating and include…

Progesterone -what you need to know about this hormone and menopause

Confused about how to use progesterone or you don’t tolerate it well? Dr Juliet Balfour explains your options. If you have a uterus you need progesterone as part of your HRT. It is vital for controlling the thickness of the endometrium or lining of the womb. By stopping it from becoming too thick it reduces our risk of endometrial or womb cancer. Dr Juliet Balfour, a menopause GP from Somerset says progesterone is produced by our ovaries and in our fertile years its job is to prepare the womb for pregnancy. If we don’t get pregnant the levels drop and…

The age of invisibility

It’s said we disappear as we age. Writer Jane Chelliah examines some of the reasons why and what we can do about it. The invisibility of being an older woman is something I am fighting against. I have reached that stage in life to my horror. My voice has become louder, and I keep thinking ‘mutton’ when I choose new outfits. I am reluctant to say ‘I have reached that ‘age’ because the cloak of invisibility is not always age oriented. I would opine that it is more a subjective experience which can strike women in ‘midlife’, defined as women…

Prolapses and the pelvic floor

What is a prolapse and why do they happen. A prolapse occurs when one or more of the organs in the pelvis shift from from their normal position and push on the walls of the vagina, or in the case of the uterus, bulge into into. There are four main types which involve the womb (uterus), bowel, bladder or top of the vagina. A prolapse can cause pain and discomfort but it is not life threatening. In many cases symptoms can be improved with pelvic floor exercises and lifestyle changes, but in some cases medical treatment may be required. What are…

How physio can help your pelvic floor

From prolapses to peeing when we sneeze – find out how the right advice from a physiotherapist could change your life. ‘Are you doing your Kegel exercises?’ It’s a question we often hear when it comes to problems with the waterworks, but is it the right question? Women’s health physiotherapist Fiona Mitchell has been working with women (and men) with pelvic floor concerns for many years and she says there is no ‘one size fits all’ to improving its function. And, we shouldn’t be looking at it in isolation – it is affected by stress, trauma, muscle imbalances and tension…

How menopause affects your skin, hair and nails

How does menopause affect your skin, hair and nails? Dr Naomi Potter explains what it does and what can help. Menopause is so much more than hot flushes and night sweats. There are more than 40 symptoms that signal declining oestrogen levels, and many affect our skin, hair and nails. As skin is the body’s largest organ it plays an important role in keeping us healthy, so it’s vital that we keep it in good condition. Here Harley Street Emporium’s Dr Naomi Potter, a London-based GP with a special interest in menopause, runs through some of the common skin symptoms she…

Hair loss and what can be done to stop it

Greg Williams, plastic surgeon and hair transplant surgeon talks about the impact of hair loss and what you can do about it. Hair loss occurs for a variety of reason and for both men and women it can have a huge psychological impact, and for many people their distress levels have risen with lockdown and the rise in zoom-style meetings where you are looking at yourself for extended periods. Dr Greg Williams says it isn’t always easy to get the right advice on what to do about hair loss. It’s a complicated are and there are  multiple types of hair…

Maskne – how to prevent acne from wearing a mask

‘Maskne’ – acne from wearing a mask. How to prevent it and what to do if it flares up. Mandatory mask wearing in shops and public transport is taking its toll on many people’s skin. A quick poll by Harley Street Emporium found 48% of people said they were experiencing outbreaks and flare ups of their acne as  a result of wearing a mask. the humidity and sweat can build up and block the pores, leading to outbreaks or what’s now commonly called ‘maskne’. So, how can you prevent it? According to Dr Unnati Desai, a GP with a diploma…

The M Diet by Dietitian Nigel Denby

Dietitian Nigel Denby unveils his evidence-based diet for menopausal women – the M Diet. Most people relax in the bath on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but recently dietitian Nigel Denby found himself growing ever more angry as he scrolled through the seemingly endless diet advice being given to menopausal women on social media. From his frustration his new menopause diet was born. “Menopausal women have had so much crap information thrown at them and I thought I’m not going to have this anymore. I’m going to take the evidence-based approach I know and have developed over 25 years, and I…

What to do when your GP says ‘No’ to HRT

Women are often given a range of reasons why they can’t have HRT, but are they correct? Dr Naomi Potter sets the record straight.   ‘Too old’, ‘too young’, ‘you have migraines’, ‘you’ve had a clot’ – these are just some of the reason women are given by their doctor as justification for not prescribing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat menopause symptoms. Many women may sail through menopause with barely a symptom, but for others they can be debilitating. Yet, 44% of respondents to a poll by Harley Street Emporium said they had been turned away when they had…

Menopause and Mental Health – The Forgotten Symptoms

Menopause’s hidden symptoms – anxiety, depression, brain fog and a low sex drive affect more women than hot flushes. When you think of menopause symptoms the first things that usually come to mind are red-faced women, drenched in sweat as they suffer yet another hot flush or night sweat, but a recent survey shows that mood, mental health and brain function symptoms could be affecting more women than these vasomotor symptoms. Some 60% of respondents to a survey of 100 perimenopausal and post menopausal women conducted by Harley Street Emporium said hot flushes and night sweats were an issue for…

18 years after the WHI study whats to celebrate

Happy 18th! The WHI study on HRT has come of age. But should we be celebrating? Some doctors argue the effects of this study have cost a generation of women their long term health.   You may remember waking up 18 years ago to headlines emblazoned across newspapers proclaiming hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increased the risk of developing breast cancer. If you were about to take your morning dose, you could easily be forgiven for spitting it out and then flushing it and the rest of the packet down the loo. And you wouldn’t have been alone. The story was…

Erectile dysfunction, penis size and the p-shot

From Erectile Dysfunction to increasing penis size, Dr Shirin Lakhani discusses treatment options Most men don’t like talking about problems with their genitalia – but erectile dysfunction is a common concern. It’s estimated that it will affect every second man at some stage in their life and the incidence increases with age. Dr Shirin Lakhani is the first woman in the UK to have been trained in performing the P-Shot  and here she runs through a series of men’s health concerns that it could help with including erectile dysfunction, lichen sclerosus, Peyronie’s Disease and issues with size. You can see…

weight loss, menopause, irritable bowels with Nigel Denby

Menopause, Weight Loss and Irritable Bowels – Dietitian Nigel Denby gives his top tips on what can help Menopause can seem like purgatory. Not only do your moods swing but your waistline thickens and then – just to add insult to injury – your bowels turn on you too. What had once been a well functioning internal system suddenly seems hell bent on bloating and releasing gas at the most inopportune times. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are things that can help. Dietitian and author, Nigel Denby, explains. Let’s start with the weight gain and thickening…

Me and My Menopausal Vagina – Jane Lewis on Vaginal Atrophy

Can’t walk, can’t sit, can’t have sex – welcome to the debilitating world of vaginal atrophy. Author Jane Lewis knows it well and explains what it is and how you can get through it. Our Vaginas go through a lot – childbirth, periods, infections… but with menopause you’d finally start to think they were going to get a break – but hell no! In the lead up to menopause (when our periods finish), and beyond it, our oestrogen levels decline and our vaginas start to ‘atrophy’. What that means is the vagina shortens and the walls become thinner and less…

HRT – from bones to your brain – what can it help

Menopause, bones and sex – how HRT could help. Dr Sarah Ball explains.   Dr Sarah Ball is a GP with a special interest in Menopause who works with Newson Health. Here she explains how HRT could benefit women in a myriad of different ways. You can see the original interview here. Brittle bones Bone density and the risk of scanning? After menopause our bone density decreases. This puts us at an increased risk of fractures which can in turn lead to decreased mobility and independence and a decline in health. A scan, known as a DEXA scan, can determine…

HRT – it’s your choice

Often women are told they can’t have HRT. Dr Sarah Ball, a GP with a special interest in menopause, explains why it should ultimately be a woman’s choice. Woman are often told by their doctor that when they reached 60 they can no longer have HRT, or that they’re too young to start taking it in their 40’s. Women who’ve had breast cancer are told they can’t ever have it – but is this always the best information? Dr Sarah Ball argues that women should be given all the facts so they can make their own decisions about whether they…

Rebranding HRT-is it time we changed the way we think about it?

Is it time we changed the way we think about HRT? Some doctors argue menopause needs a rebranding so we no longer think of HRT as the treatment of last resort. Many women talk about HRT in terms of  ‘struggling on,’ ‘braving it out’ and ‘not succumbing’ by taking it because it’s ‘not natural’ – but is that correct? Dr Sarah Ball, a GP with a special interest in the menopause says it is time menopause was rebranded as a ‘chronic hormone deficiency’ rather than accepting it as natural part of getting older, and that HRT was seen as a…

Diet and weight control- which diets work?

 Diet and weight control- what works and what’s dangerous? Dietitian Sophie Medlin explains. Social media is flooded with diets that promise to shed pounds off you instantly or help you live longer – but what do the experts think? Dietitian Sophie Medlin, founder of City Dietitians in London says fads come and go but very few are effective and some can even damage your health. Some of us may have long term issues with our weight and others may be worried after adding a few extra pounds (or kilos) during lockdown. But, as Sophie says, we are in the middle…

Can diet help relieve your menopause symptoms

Can your diet help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause? Dietitian Sophie Medlin gives her top tips on what works and what may not. Can Phytoestrogens help with menopause symptoms? Phytoestrogens are compounds that occur naturally in plants and foods including fruits, veggies, legumes, and some grains. Soy is a popular source. They are said to mimic oestrogen and may be helpful for hot flushes, mood swings and painful breasts. But is there good evidence to back that up? “There is some data around phytoestrogens that some people find helpful,” Sophie says. “Again it’s not everybody and the data…

The Gut Brain Axis and Probiotics

Could eating probiotics help your mood or control your weight? Dietitian Sophie Medlin explains what the research shows now. It’s an emerging area of research but the links between the gut and its microbiome and our brain is starting to be established. It’s known as the gut-brain-axis and it involves the role probiotics (the good bacteria in our gut) could play in helping with mood and weight control. And there may also be benefits for immunity and perhaps even longevity. But first, what are Probiotics? According to London-based dietitian, Sophie Medlin, probiotics are the live bacteria and by law must…

Skin care myths and tips for healthy skin

Not sure where the truth lies when it comes to skin care? Our Skin-tellectuals sort the fact from fiction on some common questions. Q. Do you need to change you skin care routine in Summer? According Dr Bhavjit Kaur from the Health and Aesthetics Clinic in London there can be an argument for changing some of your regime as the weather warms up. As temperatures rise some people may find their skin produces more oil and if this is an issue she suggests swapping your usual cleanser for a salicylic acid cleanser. Salicylic acid helps control oil production, fight the…

Body shaping and fat loss injections explained

Fat dissolving injections and body shaping: what works for what? Dr Bhavjit Kaur explains.   Many people have pockets of stubborn fat that are hard to get rid of even after weight loss. So what can help get rid of it? Dr Kaur uses a number of devices in her Health and Aesthetics Clinic and here she runs through the pro’s and con’s of  some of them.    Fat Dissolving injections “Aqualyx is good for removing stubborn pockets of fat. It is injected using a cannula just under the skin where goes to work to break down the fat cells…

Menopause Myths and Misconceptions

Menopause and HRT: myths and misconceptions.   There are about as many myths and misconceptions surrounding HRT as there are symptoms of menopause. Here gynaecologist Vikram Talaulikar runs through some of the most common ones.   Q. HRT will make me fat “That’s definitely a myth. I’ve seen many women on HRT go both ways. I’ve seen women starting HRT who’ve put it on and just as many who’ve lost weight or seen no changes. It’s very individual. From the studies we know that it doesn’t make you put on weight but what it can do in the first few…

Premature menopause symptoms and management options

Premature menopause: What are the signs and the treatment options? Premature and early menopause can have a devastating effect on women and their families. Here, Gynaecologist Vikram Talaulikar from The Menopause Clinic London, talks us through the signs to look out for and the treatment options for symptom relief and fertility available to women.   Fact file: Menopause is the cessation of periods Premature menopause or Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) is menopause that occurs under the age of 40 and it affect 1-3% of women Early menopause is menopause that occurs under the age of 45 and it affects between…