Podcast Episode 4: Breaking the bias of women’s hormone health for International Women’s Day with Kate Muir
In honour of International Women’s Day (IWD), podcast host Lauren Redfern is joined by author, documentary maker and journalist Kate Muir to discuss the 2022 IWD theme: ‘Break The Bias’.
Discussing accessibility, class, race, and more, Lauren and Kate pick apart the nuanced and complex ways in which experiences of the perimenopause and menopause are underscored by certain biases. Drawing upon the personal stories of women from all walks of life, her own journey through the menopause, and conversations with leading medical experts in the field, Kate helps to identify the multiple barriers many are currently facing when it comes to accessing treatment.
Kate is currently working on a follow up documentary for Channel 4 and an updated edition of her book Everything You Need to Know About the Menopause (But Were Too Afraid to Ask). You can find out more about Kate’s work and find links to her social media accounts by visiting her website: www.katemuir.co.uk.
The team at the Newson Health Menopause Society are committed to breaking the bias of the perimenopause, menopause and women’s hormone health through raising awareness and improving education. The society provides a collaborative space for professionals to digest specialist content from experts in their field, as well as listen to stories and experiences that challenge common misconceptions about the peri/menopause. This hormone deficiency urgently needs to be taken seriously by healthcare professionals to improve the diagnosis and management of symptoms, and to reduce suffering and improve the future health of all women around the world.
From all of us here at the Newson Health Menopause Society, we wish you a happy International Women’s Day and hope you will join us in helping to #breakthebias.
Lauren Redfern [00:00:06] Welcome to the podcast for the Newson Health Menopause Society, a multidisciplinary collective of interested professionals passionate about improving hormone health across the world. The society exists to educate and inspire others to raise the standard of menopause care and access to treatment, to facilitate research collaborations across specialties and countries, and to provide expert advice and guidance to our associates. The ultimate aim of the Newson Health Menopause Society is to improve the lives and future health of women and all who experience the perimenopause and menopause. I’m Lauren Redfern. I’m a medical anthropologist, and I’ve been exploring the experiences of those using testosterone as part of their HRT treatment. In this podcast series, I’m going to be talking to guests from a variety of different disciplines in order to share knowledge and ultimately improve our understanding of the perimenopause and menopause.
Lauren Redfern [00:01:05] Imagine a gender equal world, a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together, we can forge women’s equality. Collectively, we can all break the bias. These are the words that accompany this year’s International Women’s Day campaign. Breaking the bias. The theme of breaking the bias calls upon us all to refocus our efforts in naming injustice when we see it and asks us to make a commitment both individually and collectively to help stop injustice and work toward shaping a global landscape free from disabling biases. In support of this year’s campaign, we wanted to record a podcast episode that directly addresses this theme and think about the ways in which experiences of the perimenopause and menopause can be both directly and indirectly impacted and affected by particular biases.
Lauren Redfern [00:02:03] I’m lucky enough today to be joined by esteemed author, documentary maker and journalist Kate Muir, who’s going to help me unpick some of these complexities in need of consideration. We begin by discussing the ways in which inherent biases are related to experiences of menopausal treatment and care. Kate’s fantastic book, Everything You Need To Know About The Menopause But Were Too Afraid To Ask, draws upon interviews with leading medical experts in the field, the personal stories of women from all walks of life, and her own journey through the menopause. Needless to say, she is perfectly placed to help tackle this topic with me today.
Lauren Redfern [00:02:38] Hi Kate. Thank you so much for joining me for what I think is going to be a very interesting and important conversation. I know I’ve shared a little bit about the important work that you’re doing, but I wondered if we could start today with you just introducing yourself briefly and telling us a little bit more about the work that you’ve been doing.
Kate Muir [00:02:56] Well, right now, I’m in the middle of making a second documentary for Channel Four about the menopause with Davina McCall, and it’s going to potentially be titled, The Menopause Brain Drain, because we’re really, really interested in what is happening inside women’s brains during menopause and the effects that the loss of estrogen has on them. So that is huge. We’re also doing menopause at work, which is just an area of extraordinary inequality, and we’ve done a huge survey looking into what happens at women at work. We’ve done it with the Fawcett Society, who are really brilliant at analysing this kind of information, and we’re doing it with Channel Four and it’s basically about the vast fallout due to menopause. So we’re doing that. I’ve done the book for England and obviously the NHS is very different from what’s happening in America. So I’m also starting to research a version of the book for America. And as we know, the loss of appointments due to insurance are massive there. And women really, really don’t get equal access to HRT, at least in Britain. You’ve got a good chance if you try very hard of getting some, whereas in America, the numbers of people that are excluded is incredible and particularly women of colour are excluded in America from health. So, you know, looking at all that, looking to make a documentary in America too, and generally keep on running the bandwagon, I think.
Lauren Redfern [00:04:29] Yeah. And I want to come back to all of those things that you said because I think, I mean it’s fascinating the work that you’re doing. Obviously when I reached out to you, I suddenly realised, ‘Oh, you’re in America and I’m in America’, and I’ve definitely been observing some of those things that you’ve mentioned. And I think it’s what made me just feel you are so well placed to help talk about this theme this year for International Women’s Day of Breaking the Bias. Because and I mean, you mentioned briefly that the differences between UK and the States and obviously that in the UK, if you try hard, you do have a good chance of getting access to HRT, and how that differs in the States and you mentioned, obviously how disproportionately women of colour are affected by those things, such as biases, and I thought maybe somewhere we could start is actually kind of asking you what breaking the bias means to you and why that’s important. And I suppose go on from there to think about how factors such as race, sexuality, socioeconomic standing, education all factor in the navigation of care and how we go about navigating that really working in this field.
Kate Muir [00:05:32] I think this is a place where we’ve got to bring in feminism at full volume to deal with the vast inequalities. I mean, it really, really exaggerates the inequalities that are already there. I think menopause care is not available for the majority of the population in the world, and there are going to be one billion menopausal women by 2025, and only a lucky elite will be on HRT. And we know that HRT has this extraordinary effect on long term health. We’re obviously discussing this in terms of osteoporosis, in terms of dementia, in terms of cardiovascular health and in terms of staying sane while you’re at work and dealing with your menopause symptoms. So HRT, the very good kind, the transdermal, body identical kind is this huge gift we are able to gift to women that is going to protect their long term health. And, you know, I completely believe that menopause is a long-term hormonal deficiency. In fact, it’s not a question of belief. That’s what it is. And therefore, getting that message out and getting the HRT out to those who need it, or the information is incredibly important. And I think it’s a huge class issue. If you look at Britain and you look at what kinds of HRT are prescribed in different bits of Britain. I was just looking at the documents from one pharmaceutical company today, actually. And basically the old combined HRT, which has progestins in it and often a small cancer risk, is the stuff that’s being prescribed to working class communities, and we’ve seen that in the paper from Warwick University, which is approximately 29% more likely to get the ‘not so good’ HRT in an economically deprived area. And we’ve been looking at Scotland for the documentary, and really, it is very, very difficult to get Utrogestan, which is Prometrium in America or micronised progesterone. It is really difficult to get that in large parts of Scotland, particularly Glasgow and Edinburgh. The two biggest cities and you’ve got to ask for it or formulary. Basically, a little red light comes up if you try and prescribe the safest, best, best absorbed HRT in Scotland, and you know East Anglia is bad, Wales is bad, Northern Ireland is bad, the northeast is bad. London, the southwest, the southeast, that’s where people are getting the good HRT. And you can look at maps of Britain and see London glowing in red, you know where everything is going better for women and the rest of the country, just not getting that kind of service and we should have equal service on the NHS. I imagine it’s exactly the same in America. People with very expensive insurance and plenty of money are obviously getting the care they need, and the rest of the people are just left, you know.
Lauren Redfern [00:08:34] To expand a bit with your thoughts on that. Would you say generally that comes down to cost? So it’s more expensive for pharmaceutical companies to provide micronised progesterone, for example, or body identical HRT. I mean, I’m curious as to your thoughts on that because I observed it myself, you know, during my research that it was challenging for women to get the safest HRT or the most effective HRT.
Kate Muir [00:08:57] It’s basically, certainly in the NHS, it’s ‘computer says no’, because on the NHS it’s going to cost you maybe £30 a year to prescribed the older, the combined HRT, the simple pill and it’s probably going to cost you a £120 a year to prescribe transdermal estrogen and Utrogestan. Now that’s not that expensive for keeping a woman out of the doctor’s surgery, preventing her having osteoporosis, preventing her from losing her job, preventing her from killing her husband. You know, I mean, it really, really is worth that very, very small investment. But you know, we seem to be dealing with administrative machines that won’t move and won’t change and that has got to come from women up. And I think that’s what we should be talking about on International Women’s Day as this has not come enough from the medical establishment down, and I know Newson Health Research is trying to completely change that and the people who are part of that, well, basically on the ground, women have got to inform themselves. And go in and ask for what they need. And it is extraordinary how little they can find out. For instance, I went on the NHS website yesterday and I put in the word perimenopause and nothing came up. There’s only the word menopause on the NHS website. Now, in all our research for the next programme we’re making, perimenopause is the key question for women. It’s the thing they don’t know about. It comes by stealth. It’s menopause’s evil little sister, and it’s the thing that crashes them out of work. And that’s where you get the big inequality at work. You’ve got maybe a real decimation. It’s around 10% are leaving. Lots and lots of people are not taking promotion. Quarter of people are going part time. And that’s all that experience, all that sophistication, all that intelligence just being thrown out. And, you know, certainly looking at Britain, 50% of nurses are over 50, a third want to leave their jobs. How much does it cost to retrain a nurse? And you can’t retrain a 22-year-old nurse to be 50 and have that human understanding because it’s not just training. There’s real riches in that nurse, and they are just the years that she’s been doing it. And, you know, we’re throwing those people on the scrapheap. And I think that’s a huge inequality. It really is. And it’s sort of amongst key workers and people who are not getting the attention they need from the health services.
Lauren Redfern [00:11:33] I think it’s interesting in that I spoke briefly before we started recording as well how in my own research, I’ve really been thinking about this idea that care is a form of treatment. And sometimes when women are experiencing the symptoms that they are in perimenopause, where, you know, so many narratives I’ve heard from women, you know who the significant recurrence is, ‘I feel like I’m losing my mind, I feel like I’m not me, I feel like I’m just losing my sense of self’ and that having contact with a health care professional who’s been working in that industry for a long period of time can give you that sense of safety, support and care that you desperately need at that time. So I think that’s so accurate. I mean, I wanted to just briefly in relation to the theme of breaking the bias, just really ask, I mean, you mentioned class, but when it comes to menopausal treatment and access to care, and I suppose you can think about this in a UK context, you know, what do you feel the biases are, if any, in relation to menopausal care and access to treatment?
Kate Muir [00:12:29] Well, you know, great thing about Britain is everyone can try and ring their doctor and get a Zoom appointment. But you know, that obviously doesn’t happen in certain communities. And I was on a panel last night with a South Asian doctor at Leicester University, and she was saying basically her community on the whole is not coming in to visit their doctor about menopause. And first, menopause is a relief because we’re not making children anymore. And there’s a sort of freedom from that past and certain people embrace that. But then they don’t realise about the long-term consequences of osteoporosis, in particular in the Asian community. So she said that the thing was to go out into the communities and try and talk to women and inform people and have conversations sort of in community centres. I mean, you cannot wait for people to come to you and you cannot wait for the language to change. And you know, there’s all sorts of things in Urdu and Punjabi, you know, there is no real word for menopause. There’s just a word sort of says ‘off the rag’ basically. It’s just not very pleasant.
Lauren Redfern [00:13:37] Well it does what it says on the tin, right?
Kate Muir [00:13:37] I was reminded… I was writing about that in my book, and then I just thought, actually, I remember an executive at the time saying to me when I was on my period and wandering off with a Tampax to the loo, and he said to me, ‘Oh, you’re on the rag.’ And I just thought, Yeah, there are executives at The Times and people who have not written the words, you know, in their language for menopause, but they’re both saying the same thing on the rag, off the rag. And you know, we are sitting against this kind of, oh my god, you know, two millennia of bias and medical sexism and just instinctive language around, you know, menopause. And that menopause is a sort of dirty word, isn’t it? I mean, you say ‘I’m menopausal’ and people ‘Oh hot flashes’ and you know, you are then sort of saying, ‘I’m dead, I’m useless, I’m past my peak, I’m past my sell by date.’ And there are loads and loads of women won’t admit to being menopausal, and we self-censor and we’re ashamed, we’re censoring ourselves. So there’s all that. There’s all those layers as we struggle through to try and help women. But also what has really interested me in some of the work we’ve also been doing for the documentary is that white women are so much more likely to be on HRT compared to women of colour. And it’s something in the region of double and women who are working are much more likely to be on HRT, and we know that. And so how do we get out there to help people? And one of the great things on TikTok is Dr Nighat Arif, who’s a fantastic menopause campaigner, has a massive following on TikTok. She works with a predominantly Asian community in England and she’ll be talking away in Urdu and she’ll go ‘blah, blah, blah, blah’ and she’ll sometimes says ‘vaginal dryness blah, blah, blah’. And you think, ‘Oh, there’s not a word for that?’ So but that sort of thing, going out there on TikTok, talking to the younger generation who then tell their mums or the mums that are on TikTok. And so we’ve got to think about how we don’t make this a sort of white woman’s movement and don’t make this a rich woman’s movement and that we just think of ways of including. I mean, there are fantastic people in Britain. We have Karen Arthur, who was in the last documentary who set up an account a couple of years ago on Instagram, called Menopause Whilst Black and is the most positive, powerful, intelligent force talking about all menopause. But she is, you know, thank God there is this face and she’s there and she’s out there talking about it and really, really positive about how she’s handling it and the decision she’s made, and the changes she’s made. We need more people like that. In America there’s a rather wonderful podcast by Omisade Burney-Scott, which is called the Black Girl’s Guide to the Menopause, which is really not about medical stuff, but about the portal, the transition, changing as a woman in midlife. And that’s also an incredibly positive and really enjoyable bit of listening, I think. And you know, there’s all sorts of things going on in podcast world as well. So I mean, who knows how we’re going to reach out, but I think we all have a duty to stop and think every time we do something, how do I reach a bigger audience?
Lauren Redfern [00:17:05] I completely agree. And I mean, there are so many things in what you’ve just said touching on accessibility, which I think is so important to consider in this, you know, because I completely agree. You know, you said earlier that unfortunately even though we wish systems would change, this movement of informed women is what’s going to help move us forward in allowing treatment to be accessible to all. However, I do think there are biases within even the medical landscape where most of the information is written. You know, it’s journal articles, it’s inaccessible for people that maybe don’t have time to read an article about HRT, to read an article about menopausal symptoms. So these formats that you’re mentioning, podcasts, social media accounts… I was having an interesting conversation recently about how they can be almost a little bit scoffed at by the medical community in some instances. And I know that’s changing, you know, Louise’s podcast, for example, I think that’s really moved that format to an accessible way of engaging with this topic. How in there to say we can do this in an accessible way and the documentary that you made, I mean, that reached millions of women and is having a profound effect for bringing it into people’s homes and allowing them to go, ‘Oh my God, that’s what’s happening to me. And I understand this.’ And that’s so life changing. And I think it’s that intellectual snobbery that can exist to say this needs to disappear because this is something that affects at least, if not more than half the population. So we need to figure out how to get this out in an accessible way.
Kate Muir [00:18:30] Well, I mean, it was so hard to get that documentary soul to do any softening. You know, we had a couple of, you know, quite a lot of goes, that you go and say, ‘we’re going to make a documentary about the menopause’, and they go, ‘Oh no. No one wants to hear that’. And the funny thing about the documentary was the first night on Channel Four it got 1.3 million viewers, which was quite good because it was up against like an awesome match. And then by the end of the week, it had two million viewers, and then it went on growing. So obviously, people had said to their girlfriends to click it and just check out that documentary because it’s explaining this, that and the other. And you know, we opened this door, and I don’t know to what extent as the NHS won’t tell us, prescriptions went up of HRT after the documentary, but we do know from BUPA that they got three times the number of people coming in for menopause consultations. And there was this thing called the Davina Effect that pharmacists were complaining about going ‘We’re running out of HRT’. But obviously, you know, it had this profound effect. I mean, what so matters in this whole conversation is demystifying the breast cancer rumours about HRT and explaining it to people that, you know, the Women’s Health Initiative was done 20 years ago on a completely different kind of HRT than the good stuff, the body identical stuff we would now use. When you explain that to women, you can feel a room – just the atmosphere just changes and you say ‘This is from yams, it’s plant-based, it’s an exact copy of your own hormone, what’s it going to do? It’s just going to do what your hormone did.’ And you know, you ask any 12 year old, ‘Here’s the old HRT, it’s got a synthetic progestin in it and the estrogen is made from horse urine. Would you like the one that’s a copy of your body’s? Or would you like the one made from horse urine and synthetic things?’ And any 12 year old will tell you what to do. And the idea that the entire scientific community is grandly holding itself up, talking about the old HRT and not getting rid of it because there are very few women that it necessarily suits, maybe a few, but on the whole, you could get rid of most of that stuff and give people transdermal gels or patches and really, really change the outcome of their health. And I do not understand why we are prescribing women, not the best HRT, because it’s not that expensive. And that’s what every science paper I read, and just go, ‘But that’s irrelevant.’ You know, it’s out of date. It’s dealing with stuff that happened in 1994. I don’t get it.
Lauren Redfern [00:21:07] Yeah. And I think within that, and again on this theme of biases, and I think we have to be very aware of actually how challenging it can be for women or persons experiencing perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms to say to their GP or healthcare provider, ‘That’s not the HRT I want. This is the HRT I want.’ Because A) I mean, you have a patriarchal component to that. For example, if it’s an older male doctor, which I think, you know, I’ve had women talk about that. There’s a concern about pushing back against that and saying, ‘No, that’s not the HRT I want. I want this.’ Because if we take in all of those gendered considerations that actually for women, using their voices is still something that is complex, whether people believe that or not, it is complex. And in those environments, it’s not always easy to use your voice to say, ‘This is not the treatment I want. This is the treatment I want.’ And that advocacy is complicated, a complex. And I suppose also for the healthcare provider to have that, you know, that movement of women that are speaking up for what they need
Kate Muir [00:22:03] And just women are going three times, quite often, to their GP before they actually get what they need. And you know, we’ve had big conversations before about antidepressants, but just a huge percentage of women being offered antidepressants and sent away. And I think one of the other things we need to talk about is the sort of bias that we are daft women of a certain age turning into witches and grumpy cronies, and that we will be like this in our old age and we can get stuffed, and once we’re not fertile, who cares how our brains work? And really, the incredible effect of hormones in perimenopause on the brain is something we must massively acknowledge, understand as women, not say that it’s going to destroy us or ruin us, but that if possible, we do something about it and that we recognise, just like in pregnancy, which everybody recognises, your brain rewires, your brain rewires in menopause. And you know, the studies are showing that your grey matter goes down and then goes up again at the end of menopause. But it starts going down in perimenopause. Your white matter starts going down, which is your kind of connections and your glucose mechanism in the brain starts crashing. And instead, after menopause, you’re start pumping more blood to your brain. Now, that’s really interesting. So we have different brains at the other side of menopause, quite genuinely, and they are tools for different purposes, perhaps. And nobody’s looked into what happens after that. Nobody’s really looked into the brain on HRT. Does it remain absolutely steady throughout? Does it change because nobody bothers to do the science on women? But I’m very aware that this midlife transition, whether or not you go on HRT, is a huge change for women that women need to embrace, recognise, treat, you know, all sorts of important things. But we need to tackle it and not just sweep it away with an antidepressant and become zombies. And I think it’s about confronting how are we going to live for the next 30 years because we’re all going to live to be 83 on average? So how are we going to live those years and are we going to live them well and are we going to do good or are we going to sit at home feeling depressed? So it’s really important because we’re looking into certainly the developed world, a huge longevity. And this is all about longevity. This conversation and women’s longevity, whether it be good lives or disabled, difficult lives, you know?
Lauren Redfern [00:24:35] And I think within what you’re saying, it’s really the bias as well that does exist with the fact that there are inherent gendered biases in scientific research and access to treatment. And we don’t talk about this, that actually the fact that women are struggling to get treatment and care, that is essential. I think before we were recording, I can’t remember the statistic you gave me, but a high proportion of women in the perimenopause leaving work, turning down promotions not being able to manage and cope, and you do have to ask the question that if this was happening to men, would we be experiencing it in this way with these biases?
Kate Muir [00:25:10] No, I think we wouldn’t. And I think we’d have looked into the science and solved it. And I think, you know, everything moving so slowly for women, because why worry about them too much? All of this could be done in about five minutes with a quick change in NHS policy, certainly in Britain and a quick change in the computer, which, as you could just say, medical schools need to teach menopause as a module. You know, I think only 41% teach it just now. That would be simple. You could change that come September. Really easy. You know, the Royal College of GP’s could teach menopause as a compulsory module. You could change that as well. We could find the module for them in about 20 minutes. You know, people need to be informed about prescribing HRT. Very, very simple. I mean, these are changes that could be done so quickly, and you could just change the NHS formulary in five minutes to put safer HRT at the top. And then women wouldn’t come back three times having the wrong stuff. And you just think, you just need a menopause-Czar here? I don’t really want to use the Russian word at the moment, but you know, you need a queen of the menopause to come in and just say, ‘We will do this within a month and it will be done tomorrow.’ And the interesting thing is when it comes from women up, and indeed it came from women up when Louise Newson and FourteenFish did the Confidence in the Menopause Course, which is now available free from The Menopause Charity. And we put that out in May, didn’t we last year? And it’s been taken up by 21,000 healthcare professionals, GP’s, trainee GP’s. We think, well, 21,000 people thought they weren’t educated enough in the menopause and they took their own time in the evenings to do that course. What does that tell you about the state of healthcare and the amazing generosity of the people working in healthcare that are trying to do their best for us? So I mean, there’s no lack of willingness out there, you know, and again, it’s coming from the bottom up. It shouldn’t. You could just change government policy in a day, and that is what makes me very annoyed.
Lauren Redfern [00:27:18] You know, I’m right there with you. And I mean, I think really what you’ve said addresses that. But it was one question I had in terms of what you feel needs to be done and can be done to help address biases and ultimately help break those biases. And I mean, I think addressing government policy is obviously one. Do you have any other thoughts about how in relation to this year’s theme of breaking the bias, what we can all do? Or should be pushing for?
Kate Muir [00:27:41] Well, I mean, we can all talk about menopause in public and women, I think, women being more confident about talking about it and particularly women in the public eye being more confident, which we’ve seen in Britain, rather amazingly, people are very good about coming out – senior executives and people in the media. In America, there has not been this effort to come out and speak out against bias, and Hollywood is very silent and so are the top ends of business in America. So I suppose we’ve seen that. I mean, the other bias you have is, you know, women in menopause, but there are also people in menopause and there’s so little research done. In fact, there’s none really on what happens to trans men in menopause and looking through, I tried to interview lots of people and I think it’s a really difficult triggering subject. And I think it needs to come from the trans movement out and they need to find out about different menopausal experiences. And as a woman in Britain, Tanya Glyde, who identifies as she, they and she has got the site Queer Menopause and also does Instagram as Queer Menopause. So she’s very much looking into the way people are treated, who are non-binary, who are trans, who come in and say, ‘I’ve got these symptoms.’.
Kate Muir [00:28:58] Very interestingly, I found a paper out of Chicago, which was about a plumber who had children, he’s a dad, he’s a plumber, and suddenly, at about 45, 50, he starts getting hot flushes and he’s been taking testosterone for years and years, he’s got a beard or whatever. And then he goes in to get treatment. They give him more testosterone. Doesn’t work. Just gives him spots. And then he comes back again and someone says, ‘But men have estrogen too. Why don’t we give him a little bit of estrogen to cool off those hot flushes?’ So they give him a little bit of estrogen within the men’s range of kind of estrogen, they keep the testosterone at some medium level. Goes back home and he’s fine and the hot flushes go away. And I think what we’re learning here is that there is no one menopause is there? And that, you know, women, as we’re going to have a conversation about this, women have a lot of testosterone, men have estrogen. It’s not one or the other. And there’s this in-between world that we need to explore. Hormones are really interesting. What are hormones doing to your body in terms of long-term health? How are we going to look after ourselves? Is throwing all your estrogen away and only having testosterone going to be a risk at some point? Will anyone do the research on that for us? You know, it is so important that we start investigating all these complicated corners. It’s just not there. It’s just not there yet.
Lauren Redfern [00:30:28] I agree. And I mean, I think it’s changing slightly with the landscape that now we are hearing menopause, perimenopause referred to as hormonal depletion, hormonal insufficiency, and we’re having it given the space that it needs as talking about it as not just a, quote unquote, ‘biological women’s’ issue, but actually a persons’ issue.
Kate Muir [00:30:47] Yeah, I think what would be great is if people in the trans community and non-binary community started writing about this more and talking about this and their individual experiences. So everybody could say, ‘Oh, if that’s your story, that’s not my story, here’s my story.’ And the same has happened with menopause for women is that we’ve, you know, we’ve all told our stories and there’s more and more stories coming out and people going, ‘My skin feels like ants.’ ‘But I see flashing lights.’ ‘But, you know, I’ve got migraines.’ ‘My joints are creaky.’ And you realise that’s menopause, that’s menopause, that’s menopause. And only by telling our stories and our breakdowns and our recoveries have we been able to kind of, you know, provide a lovely, sort of safe community space for letting that out. And I think all these other communities really need to see if they can find space to do a similar thing that we’ve done more recently.
Lauren Redfern [00:31:39] And create that safe and inclusive space where we support one another, you know, instead of tearing each other down that we really stand behind this theme of breaking the bias and commit to doing that as a community of people.
Kate Muir [00:31:50] Yeah.
Lauren Redfern [00:31:50] Yeah. OK. We are sort of out of time, but I honestly, I thank you so much for joining me for what I’ve just found a really enlightening and such a fascinating conversation in support of International Women’s Day. I wanted to ask you and I’ve been asking guests really and finishing every episode of this podcast, if there’s anything you’d like to emphasise or stress or important takeaways that we’ve discussed today that you’d like to pull out, really?
Kate Muir [00:32:12] I think the thing that I really want to say to everybody and doctors and women is tell your story, so other people tell their story and then they say their story is different. And I also think that women are really willing to become well-informed on the science and how their own bodies work, and we must not underestimate that. They love a period app like Flo. They love a menopause app like balance. They love to be in control and be knowledgeable of their own bodies. All women do. They really, really like that. And I think giving women knowledge of menopause will be a fantastic gift, and I think we’re all here hoping to give it to as many people as possible.
Lauren Redfern [00:32:54] Yes. Thank you so much, Kate. Honestly, it’s been fascinating. For everybody listening, you must read Kate’s book, Everything You Need To Know About The Menopause, But Were Too Afraid To Ask. It’s phenomenal. You can also follow Kate on Instagram using @menoscandal. And do you have any others, any other platforms that you are quite active on Kate? I’m sure people would like to be following what you’re doing.
Kate Muir [00:33:14] I do a bit of Twitter as @menoscandal as well. Yeah.
Lauren Redfern [00:33:17] Amazing. Well, thank you so much for joining me and to everybody listening. Happy International Women’s Day!
Kate Muir [00:33:22] Thank you.
Lauren Redfern [00:33:25] We would love for you to join our collective of professionals passionate about the menopause visit and nhmenopausesociety.org to become an associate, you will receive regular webinars and advice from our experts, as well as opportunities to network and connect with the latest research from around the world. You can follow us on Twitter @nhmenosociety. And don’t forget to tell your colleagues about the Newson Health Menopause Society.