This week, Tracey has been reading ‘Confessions of a Menopausal Woman’, a new book by TV presenter Andrea Mclean. Released on 28th June, this book reveals everything there is to know about how menopause affected her life. Best known as one of the main presenters of ITV’s Loose Women, she has been on our screens for over two decades. This is her second book, with her first autobiography, Confessions of a Good Girl, becoming a Sunday Times number one bestseller.
Confessions of a Menopausal Woman by Andrea Mclean – Book Review
At last a woman who shares the truth midlife hormones and health issues! Andrea shares her own experiences throughout her first marriage and discovering that she has endometriosis meaning that she may not be able to have children. She was told she needed to have Clomid fertility treatment to boost her ability to have children, which then unfortunately brought on menopausal symptoms.
Luckily, Andrea did fall pregnant and went on to give birth to a health baby boy. Sadly, her first marriage didn’t last, but once she was re-married she was able to conceive a daughter naturally.
After the birth of her daughter, Andrea suffered severe postnatal depression, a fact that she kept secret for a long time. Eventually she was forced to seek medical assistance and started taking anti-depressants. Andrea gives an in-depth account of depression and anxiety and advice on how to combat these serious diseases.
Finding herself alone again, she began weaning herself off of the anti-depressants. Unfortunately, she found that the menopausal symptoms kicked in again, and once again she battled to symptoms in secret. A specialist in endometriosis was recommended to her, and she was advised that a hysterectomy would be the best way forward. Again, trying to keep this quiet from the public TV proved difficult when Linda Robinson said live on Loose Women one morning “Andrea you’ve got to say something, or they’ll all think you’ve been fired!”
Menopause in the Workplace
Telling others, especially colleagues and employers, is a difficult time. Often you assume they are judging you for being “of a certain age” or “past it”. But, as Andrea highlights, progressive organisations like the Nottinghamshire Police, and their Chief Constable Sue Fish, realised talented policewomen were leaving the force due to lack of support for symptoms! With the female retirement age rising to sixty-five and the number of working women hitting 4.7 million, employers have been forced to address this.
Having a menopause policy as standard in the workplace would mean women would be supported (if not totally understood!). It would allow simple things like a desk fan, medical appointments honoured, later start and earlier finish times. Although there is still a slight stigma of a menopausal woman, hopefully the awareness brought to the subject will mean it will become more understood.
One in five women have a hysterectomy before the age of fifty-five. There are various reasons including endometriosis, painful or frequent periods, fibroids (swelling of abnormal muscle in the womb) uterine prolapse and gynaecological cancer.
There are different types of hysterectomy:
- A full hysterectomy removes the womb in its entirety including the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
- A mini hysterectomy removes only the womb, leaving the cervix or removing the fallopian tubes and ovaries but leaving the womb.
All of these are major operations and would need the consideration of HRT or an alternative. Andreas book explains her recovery from the hysterectomy in-depth and provides valuable insight into what it was like.
Andreas book is very open about sex in midlife, and points out the fact that it is everywhere you turn! Working with some amazing women on the show Loose Women and having some very outspoken guests means that she was exposed possibly more than normal!
Food And Exercise
What’s not to love about it! Andrea provides some great recipes for the day, explains how to keep a food diary and talks through the best vitamin supplement ideas. She also discussed the benefits of keeping the body moving as we age and gives some valuable exercise tips for keeping the tummy wobbles at bay.
A great ‘go to’ quick guide for references and answers to all your needs.
Would I Recommend It?
An easy to read and very relatable book, it’s nice to be reminded that everyone goes through these sorts of experiences, not just “normal” women.