Helen Seymour is in Peri-Menopause, or at least she thinks she is. In her new weekly column we follow her on her journey towards the Menopause, learning as she does all about the big M.
Good news ladies. Ireland’s first dedicated Menopause resource is opening up before the end of this year. Loretta Dignam, a regular Irish woman (except that she’s also a marketing powerhouse), experienced first-hand the frustrations of Menopause just before she hit her fifties. She struggled with it, tried very hard (as many women do) to “work through it”, and during a three-year exploratory process, she realised that Ireland is sadly lacking when it comes to Menopause, and that there is no focused expertise or dedicated service available in this country.
Loretta is “that kind of woman”. You know the kind. The ones that don’t give up. We’re all a little bit like that in our own unique way. I don’t give up when it comes to getting the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar. Loretta Dignam decides Ireland hasn’t got a proper Menopause resource, so she opens one. Because that’s how she rolls. A former Marketing Director of Mars Ireland, Diageo, The Kerry Group and Jacob Fruitfield, Loretta won Marketer of The Year. She currently sits on the board of the Abbey Theatre and chaired their Gender Equality Committee during the time of Waking the Feminists.
So you can take it, she doesn’t do things by halves. She has researched and developed this in finite detail, and every woman who attends the clinic will be given not just the proper care and attention she needs, but also given a thorough understanding of what her body is going through, an education on all the options available, and a personalised, tailored solution in terms of the treatment that’s right for her.
“The Menopause Hub” will open its doors in early December. It will be a Dublin based clinic, a Private Health Care facility to start, but the vision is that the HSE will eventually get on board, and additional Menopause Hubs will open in Cork, Limerick and Galway, and from there, further branches will open up across Dublin, and before we know it, women in Ireland will have access to a specialised service we should have had years before now.
This is really good news for anyone struggling with Menopause. At the moment, here’s how it works for your average Irish woman. She experiences symptoms of what she thinks might be the start of Menopause, or Peri-Menopause. She goes to her GP. There is no official diagnosis for Peri-Menopause. Peri is a guessing game. A waiting game. And the wait can be painful. Peri-Menopause for some women can be worse than Menopause itself. The woman’s GP may be Pro HRT, or against HRT. It really is like rolling a dice when it comes to what your GP thinks about HRT. Some recommend it. Some don’t. What is frightening is that most of them have little awareness of Bio or Body Identical hormones as an alternative, and therefore don’t discuss them as options. And that, in my view, is wrong.
Furthermore, unless your GP is also a homoeopath, they won’t suggest alternative remedies. And if you’re really unlucky, you’ll get a GP who automatically prescribes anti-depressants. I’m not bashing GPs here. I think they do a fantastic job; we are indebted to them, but they are under-resourced, and they frankly can’t be all things to all men. And unless they have a passion for Menopause, you’re probably going to get a very generic solution. Which may work. Or may not. Like I said. Rolling a dice.
Loretta has teamed up with Medical Practitioners who have dedicated their life’s work to Menopause. Together they have created a centre of excellence, where you’ll receive a complete service in terms of assessment, reassessment (because Menopause is a moving entity), and treatment. And the really good news is that although it will initially be a Private Health Care Clinic, the rates won’t be through the roof, and Body Identical Hormones will be available as options, along with a range of other Menopause support services.
The Menopause Hub Official Website goes live in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out, and in the meantime, you can email Loretta Dignam on [email protected]