Podcast

Episode 165: Midlife update, solo with Rachel

Rachel Lankester

A midlife update from Rachel on what’s been happening lately and what’s coming up for her as we move towards summer. 

She talks about:

  • Cherishing loved ones and coping with grief
  • Recent podcast episodes
    • Being a veteran
    • Black menopause and staying curious
    • Staying strong and healing
    • Embodied experience of postmenopause
    • Discovering the joy of volunteering
    • Finding what works in midlife
    • The power of herbs
  • Questioning big claims about hormone therapy and future health
  • The Mind Body Spirit Festival (London) and Everywoman Festival (Cardiff)
  • Poverty in later life being a gendered issue
  • The growing concern of digital exclusion

And more!

Mentioned in the podcast:


Let’s Focus On Known Facts About HRT | MenoClarity IG

Jean Hailes research

Everywoman Festival | Mind Body Spirit Festival

This podcast is dedicated to Rachel’s friend Uwe Mathon

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The embodied experience of postmenopause with Stella Duffy

Talking to writer and psychotherapist Stella Duffy about her PhD on postmenopause and the impact of gendered ageism on women’s third act.

Staying strong and healing well with Dr Kristie Ennis

Dr Kristie Ennis wants to empower people to do more than they think they can and realize they are stronger than they think.

The power of herbs for menopause with Hannah Charman

Hannah Charman is a medical herbalist specializing in helping women who prefer a natural route through menopause.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

Rachel Lankester
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Episode 163: Finding what works at midlife with Dr Maria Luque

Dr. Maria Luque is a menopause fitness expert, a health science professor, and an Air Force veteran. She’s passionate about helping menopausal women become healthier, stronger, and happier. Her PhD dissertation was all about enhancing quality of life in menopause.

We talk about:

  • What quality of life in menopause means to Maria
  • Maria’s research on menopause
  • Misinformation and fear surrounding menopause
  • Embracing menopause and aging
  • Challenging menopause narratives
  • The influence of marketing and misinformation
  • Overcoming analysis paralysis
  • Trusting your own knowledge and instincts
  • The impact of polarizing menopause narratives
  • The need for nuanced conversations women’s health
  • The complexity of hormone therapy
  • The power of polarization in marketing
  • The importance of doing the work
  • Body image issues in menopause
  • Finding balance

And more!

Website: fitnessinmenopause.com

Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

Why not explore more…

Episode 160: Staying strong and healing well with Dr Kristie Ennis

Dr Kristie Ennis wants to empower people to do more than they think they can and realize they are stronger than they think.

Episode 156: Staying fit as we age with Elaine Reynolds

Elaine Reynolds is a master trainer who teaches women over 50 to not give up or give in with the crazy things happening to our bodies.

Episode 74: Getting real about long-term health with Sam Palmer

An interview with Sam Palmer, of the Midlife Makeover, getting real about what it takes to achieve long term health and fitness.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

Dr Maria Luque
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Podcast

Episode 161: The embodied experience of postmenopause with Stella Duffy

Stella Duffy is an award-winning writer of 17 novels, over 70 short stories and 15 plays who’s also worked in theatre for 35 years as an actor, director and facilitator. She’s a psychotherapist and a yoga teacher. She recently completed her doctorate in existential psychotherapy and her research was in the embodied experience of post-menopause. She’s been post-menopausal since chemotherapy for breast cancer in her mid-30s. Stella has been active in equalities and diversity work in the arts and LGBTQ+ communities for many decades.

We talk about:

  • Stella’s experience of menopause coinciding with six months of chemotherapy
  • Menopause as a global issue
  • Challenging existing narratives
  • Societal factors and the impact of money
  • Cultural differences in menopause
  • The UK’s influence on menopause narratives
  • Alternative perspectives on menopause
  • The importance of lifestyle factors
  • Societal perceptions of post-menopausal women in a patriarchal culture
  • Dismantling misogynistic stereotypes
  • Being inclusive about societal expectations and challenges related to aging
  • The societal pressure on women regarding fertility and how it contributes to defining their value.

And more! This is such a rich and empowering conversation.

You can also watch this interview on YouTube.

Stella’s websites: stelladuffy.blog | stelladuffytherapy.co.uk

Twitter/ X | Instagram | Threads

https://stelladuffy.blog & https://stelladuffytherapy.co.uk

https://bsky.app/profile/stellduffy.bsky.social

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Being wiser about menopause with Tania Elfersy

Tania Elfersy talks about how we can be wiser about the menopause transition, so we suffer less and feel its power more.

Normalizing menopause with Prof Martha Hickey

An important conversation with Professor Martha Hickey about normalizing menopause. It may be difficult for some, but is completely normal.

Episode 148: Why we need more MenoClarity

Talking to the founders of MenoClarity about why we’ve come together and what we hope to achieve with this group.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

Stella Duffy
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Blog

Menopause And Disability – Need They Be Linked?

Guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has clarified employers’ legal obligations towards women experiencing menopausal symptoms that may be interfering with their work. This isn’t new law. Rather, the guidance has reiterated and elevated existing legislation, bringing greater awareness of the protections in place for menopausal women in the workplace. In the past, if women wanted to make discrimination claims because of menopause, they could only do this by making a claim for menopause being a disability. This is still the case. 

Generally I think the new guidance is a welcome move. I’m happy to see efforts to generate greater awareness around menopause and that women will be supported more and also protected. I’m pleased that employment law does enable women to push back against unfavourable treatment and that more and more organisations are putting in place a menopause policy.

However, I struggle with any association made between menopause and disability, because I consider menopause to be a natural stage of life and even when women have severe menopause symptoms, I don’t think that pushes them towards disability. But before I talk more about that, first let’s take a look at what exactly the EHRC has said.

Employers legal obligations are set out thus:

“Under the Equality Act 2010, workers are protected from discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of protected characteristics including disabilityage and sex.

If menopause symptoms have a long term and substantial impact on a woman’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, these symptoms could be considered a disability. If menopause symptoms amount to a disability, an employer will be under a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments. They will also be under a legal obligation to not directly or indirectly discriminate because of the disability or subject the woman to discrimination arising from disability.

Women experiencing menopause symptoms may also be protected from direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment and victimisation, on the grounds of age and sex.

Under health and safety legislation, employers also have a legal obligation to conduct an assessment of their workplace risks.”

The reasonable adjustments to working conditions that the EHRC recommends for menopausal employees are better ventilation and cooling devices to accommodate hot flushes for example, the provision of quiet rooms and relaxing uniform policies or allowing women to wear cooler clothing if needed.  The guidance also recommends facilitating flexible working and changing shift patterns, for example, to accommodate women experiencing symptoms of menopause, such as difficulty sleeping, hot flashes and brain fog.

If employers fail to make these accommodations, they could potentially be sued under disability legislation. The guidance also sets out how taking disciplinary action because of menopause-related absence could be unlawful discrimination unless it is justified. Similarly, using language that ridicules a worker in relation to their menopausal symptoms could be considered harassment on the basis of age, sex, or disability. This last point, I love!

This all seems to be good news and it’s important to get more guidance on best practices. Just being able to wear natural fabrics and not synthetics can make a radical change to a menopausal woman’s comfort levels at work. But she also needs multiple sets of uniform to accommodate frequent changes and especially in case she suffers from menstrual flooding during her menopause transition.

These are all important ways to accommodate women at work. We also need to think about toilet facilities which are often woefully inadequate. If a woman is flooding during menopause and she has no access to a wash basin in the toilet stall, how can she possibly take care of herself in the workplace. It’s important that employers also provide toilet facilities that enable women to practice good personal hygiene without making any embarrassing issues obvious to everybody at work!

It’s interesting to consider that pregnancy is a protected characteristic but menopause is not. The guidance talks about harassment or discrimination on the basis of age, sex, or disability, but women cannot currently bring a claim for discrimination on the basis of two of these protected characteristics, only one. I believe that is why, in the past, when anybody wanted to make a claim in connection with menopause, it had to be done on the basis of disability. But pregnancy isn’t a disability and neither is puberty. Why does menopause take us into disability territory? 

Is a menopausal woman a disabled person? The guidance talks in terms of when there are long-term severe symptoms that can impact a woman’s work, the symptoms could then be considered a disability. So, technically, it’s not menopause itself that is the disability, rather it is the menopause symptoms, if they are severe. But is this just semantics? It still puts menopause in the disability camp, I think. It still seems to me, to be an unfortunate use of terminology.

Natural hormonal changes are something that happen to all women in midlife, and I believe with more knowledge, support and understanding, most women should be able to transition through this period without having to call on the disabilities act. If, in fact, we were able to call on two protected characteristics to make a claim, then menopause would fit neatly in age and sex. We go through menopause because we are older and female. 

Another element of the guidance is that menopause-related leave needs to be classified as menopause-related leave. This strikes me as a very grey area. How are women and managers to classify what is related to menopause and what isn’t? Will a doctors note and medical evidence be needed? There is no test for natural menopause, unlike for pregnancy.

If a woman is suffering from sleepless nights, that could be menopause-related or it could be stress related to life in general. There can be so much going on in a midlife woman’s life! She may be grappling with an empty nest, she may be stuck in the sandwich generation, caring for children and elderly parents, she may be experiencing her first real dose of gendered ageism, which could be knocking her confidence even further. 

If a woman suffers from joint pain, how do we know that is specifically menopause and not another reason? Do we look at the average age of menopause and if the employee fits that profile, then we put everything down to menopause? There is much disagreement about what exactly is caused by menopause and the extent to which it has a significant impact on women. And every woman has a different menopause.

Could menopause now be used as an excuse for poor performance standards with employers fearful to say anything in case they get sued? What time period will be used to accommodate women needing support during the menopause transition? We know all women have their own individual experience and deserve to be accommodated on a case-by-case basis. There is no one-size-fits-all, but it does make it all quite complicated. But menopause and women’s health in general is complicated. We need to work with that.

There are certainly positive steps being taken to support women at work and hopefully improve the employment rates of older women, so they don’t feel the workplace no longer works for them. If women are leaving work because it can’t support and accommodate them during their menopause, that’s not a good thing! We need to ensure we keep older women at work – society needs them! 

But it’s not just about ticking the menopause box either. It’s also about considering the impact of age discrimination and sex discrimination, and how we can also tackle those. Both have a big impact on how women experience menopause, as well as just being an older woman in general. There’s lots more to be done to combat the often unfair treatment of older women at work, and stop the need for any woman to attend an employment tribunal!

You can hear me talking about the new menopause guidance on Times Radio.

You may also like: Government Policy On Menopause – What Exactly Is It?

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Podcast

Episode 159: Black menopause and staying curious with Pamela Windle

Pamela Windle

Pamela Windle joins the podcast to talk about menopause, at work, for Black women, diversity of experience, the importance of representation and staying curious about big statements about women’s health, especially when those relate to race. Pamela is a women’s health coach and menstruation and menopause consultant for the workplace. She trained with the Integrated Women’s Health Institute and the International Menopause Society. She’s an adviser to the British Standards Institute for the new standard on menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace.

We talk about:

  • Menopause and perimenopause in the workplace
  • The new BSI standard on menstruation and menopause in the workplace
  • Pamela’s personal experiences with perimenopause, challenging societal shame and embarrassment around menstruation and aging
  • Emphasizing the diversity of women’s experiences and the importance of self-care
  • Scepticism about research on menopause for Black women 
  • The lack of representation of Black women in medical research
  • The importance of including diverse perspectives in medical research 
  • Still being perimenopausal at 57
  • The spread of misinformation about menopause
  • Menopause and HRT stigmatization in the UK
  • Black women and risk of cancer
  • Menopause and hormone imbalance for Black women

And more!

Pamela’s website: smarterchange.co.uk

Facebook | Instagram

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Menopause whilst Black with Karen Arthur

Meet Karen Arthur, host of the Menopause Whilst Black Podcast, set up to amplify the voices of Black women and their experience of menopause.

The Menopause Revolution And Getting Truly Revolutionary

How the narratives around the menopause revolution need to change, if it’s to be truly revolutionary and empowering for women.

Being wiser about menopause with Tania Elfersy

Tania Elfersy talks about how we can be wiser about the menopause transition, so we suffer less and feel its power more.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

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Episode 157: Midlife update, solo with Rachel

Mag Mid podcast host Rachel is flying solo this week, talking about what’s been happening in her world. There’s a trip to the UK Houses of Parliament and a book recommendation in the New York Times in the mix! Check out what’s been catching her attention lately.

She talks about:

  • The success of the MenoClarity live event and how you can still access the recordings
  • Going to the heart of Government to talk about menopause
  • Menopause narratives and how they seem to keep getting worse
  • Her book, Magnificent Midlife, being recommended in the New York Times
  • The podcast season to date featuring: avoiding burnout, the crisis of care, staying fit as we age, healing through memoir, getting back on stage, digital publishing and traveling the world
  • Gendered ageism
  • Digital exclusion
  • How the Masters is going

And lots more!

Meeting Carolyn Harris MP at the Houses of Parliament

Resources mentioned:

You can still listen to the MenoClarity Live recordings: https://bit.ly/menoclaritylive

New York Times: (7 Books to Guide You Through Menopause): https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/18/well/live/menopause-books.html

Why not explore more..

Being wiser about menopause with Tania Elfersy

Tania Elfersy talks about how we can be wiser about the menopause transition, so we suffer less and feel its power more.

Why we need more MenoClarity

Talking to the founders of MenoClarity about why we’ve come together and what we hope to achieve with this group.

Why I Want To Change The Menopause Narrative

Menopause gets a bad rap. How about we re-frame it and change the menopause narrative, so we stop fighting it, and instead embrace it and find its gifts.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

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Episode 150: Finding the true truth with Ann Marie McQueen

Celebrating episode 150 of the podcast with a very special guest. Ann Marie McQueen is a journalist on the world stage, focused on menopause and on a mission to cut through misleading narratives and dodgy data. She founded HotFlash Inc in 2020 to cover the latest clinical studies, treatments, products, guidance and more via a weekly research letter, podcast and across social media. She’s also one of the founder members of MenoClarity.

We talk about:

  • Why and how menopause became Ann Marie’s focus
  • Living in the Middle East as a Canadian expat
  • Cultural differences around menopause narratives
  • What annoys and concerns her about how menopause is portrayed
  • Issues around the impact of social media on menopause narratives
  • The oversimplification of menopause messages
  • Ann Marie’s struggles with ill health and separating that out from hormonal change
  • The impact of belief systems and trauma on menopause
  • The impact of early parental bereavement
  • How her view of menopause has changed
  • Understanding research and what it’s really saying
  • Being sceptical about big promises that make people money
  • Menopause narratives that don’t empower women
  • Menopause as a hero’s journey

And more!

Anne Marie’s website: hotflashinc.com

Instagram | Twitter | Tiktok

Podcast: The Hotflash inc podcast

Resources mentioned:

Hotflash inc episode 73: I had a good mother

Why not explore more…

Being wiser about menopause with Tania Elfersy

Tania Elfersy talks about how we can be wiser about the menopause transition, so we suffer less and feel its power more.

How To Manage Menopause Without HRT

It is perfectly possible to manage menopause without HRT. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can all have an enormous impact.

Normalizing menopause with Prof Martha Hickey

An important conversation with Professor Martha Hickey about normalizing menopause. It may be difficult for some, but is completely normal.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

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Episode 148: Why we need more MenoClarity

Something very different for this podcast – five guests on one show! Five of my fellow founders of MenoClarity, the knowledge hub for menopause set up in 2023. I’m talking to Pat Duckworth, Prof Joyce Harper, Clarissa Kristjansson, Kate Codrington and Ann Marie McQueen about why we’ve come together and what we hope to achieve with MenoClarity. This is a wild and at times hilarious conversation!

We talk about:

  • The menopause myths we’re hoping to bust
  • Bringing some positivity to menopause without being Pollyannaish about it
  • Establishing a middle reliable ground in the currently very polarized menopause world
  • Bringing clarity to what symptoms are really due to menopause and what might not be
  • Cherry picking research findings to suit certain narratives
  • The dangers of getting information from social media
  • Providing trusted sources of information
  • The three stages of womanhood – none should be the default, they all matter
  • How we’re not broken in midlife and we don’t need fixing
  • Our inaugural online summit on Friday 29 September – MenoClarity Live: Menopause Without The Hype

And more!

MenoClarity’s website: menoclarity.com

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Register for FREE: MenoClarity Live: Menopause Without The Hype

Book mentioned: The Slow Moon Climbs: The Science, History, and Meaning of Menopause

Why not explore more…

Menopause And Nutrition With Karen Newby

Karen Newby is a nutritionist specializing in women’s hormonal health, especially menopause. There’s so much to learn from this conversation!

How To Embrace Your Second Spring With Kate Codrington

Wise woman Kate Codrington on how we can embrace our second spring, transitioning through menopause into a new, exciting phase of life.

Being Wiser In Menopause – With Tania Elfersy

Tania Elfersy is a transformative coach, speaker and award-winning author who helps women transform their experience of midlife change.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

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Episode 147: Looking after women’s health with Dr Cathleen Brown

Dr. Cathleen Brown is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist who has spent much of her career caring for female soldiers and their dependents. She was honorably discharged from the US Army after 12 years of meritorious service. She now provides gynecology services specifically for women at midlife during the menopause transition.

We talk about:

  • What was it like being an army doctor
  • How service women manage their periods when they’re on active service
  • The transition from military to civilian life
  • The difference between the medical system in America and the UK
  • How the US healthcare system needs an overhaul
  • What Cathleen likes about helping women in midlife and experiencing menopause
  • How women can help themselves in menopause
  • How women can access better food in America
  • How menopause can impact women’s health
  • Optimizing sleep and brain health

And more!

You can find Dr Cathleen on the Winona website: bywinona.com

Why not explore more..

Upgrading The Menopause Conversation With Clarissa Kristjansson

Clarissa Kristjansson is breaking the bias about menopause. We discuss how much more needs to be included in menopause discussions.

How Gendered Ageism Is Affecting Older Women’s Health

When sexism and ageism combine, it has a huge impact, especially on women’s healthcare. How can women tackle gendered ageism?

Staying Fit And Healthy Through Menopause With Tania Dalton

Meet Tania Dalton, healthy aging coach and fitness trainer who’s passionate about redefining age and empowering women to embrace menopause.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

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Podcast

Episode 145: Leaning into midlife, solo with Rachel

A solo podcast from Rachel with more midlife musing on life, the universe and everything in between! Let’s lean into midlife and our wisdom years!

She talks about:

  • The new BSI Menstruation and Menopause in the Workplace Guide launch with Mariella Fostrup
  • How we need a revolution in how women especially older ones are viewed in the world
  • The inaugural MenoClarity Live summit in September
  • Out and about talking about midlife and menopause
  • The podcast season so far
  • One year off the booze!
  • How we only make change when we decide to

And more!

[The BSI Guide] Menstruation, Menstrual Health And Menopause In The Workplace

[Register Here] MenoClarity Live: Menopause Without The Hype | Friday 29th September 2023 | 9.30-17.00 UK Time

Time Magazine: Now’s The Time To Bring Up Menopause At Work

100 Days Without Alcohol

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Caring For Older Parents With Liz O’Donnell

Liz O’Donnell is the founder of Working Daughter, a community supporting people caring for loved ones and especially older parents.

What Happens When You Mix Menopause And Alcohol?

We may like a drink, but is menopause and alcohol good for us or a mix to be avoided? Here are some things to consider.

Emotional Eating And Drinking With Vicky Midwood

Vicky Midwood talks about disordered eating or drinking, and understanding the impact past behavior can have on us in midlife.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

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Podcast

Episode 144: The power of yoga for menopause with Niamh Daly

Niamh Daly is the founder of Yinstinct Yoga and focuses on creating yoga practices to help especially with menopause, training teachers around the world in this. She also runs courses in Menopause Awareness and Strategies for fitness professionals, nutrition and health coaches as well as accredited courses for Psychotherapists and Counsellors.

We talk about:

  • Why Niamh is so passionate about yoga and especially for menopause
  • How to adapt our practice through menopause and as we age
  • The stages of menopause
  • The importance of pleasure
  • Connecting with our nervous systems
  • What we can learn by listening to our bodies
  • The importance of movement throughout the day
  • Being cautious of people making big promises about menopause
  • Looking out for misleading narratives
  • Learning to trust ourselves

And more!

Niamh’s website: yinstinctyoga.com

Facebook | Linkedin | Instagram | YouTube

Why not explore more

Getting Real About Long-Term Health With Sam Palmer

An interview with Sam Palmer, of the Midlife Makeover, getting real about what it takes to achieve long term health and fitness.

Staying Fit And Healthy Through Menopause With Tania Dalton

Meet Tania Dalton, healthy aging coach and fitness trainer who’s passionate about redefining age and empowering women to embrace menopause.

Yoga For Menopause – 7 Reasons Why It’s Great

Looking for a natural remedy for hot flushes and achy joints? Yoga could be the answer. Here’s why it’s great to try yoga for menopause. 

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

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Episode 137: Being wiser about menopause with Tania Elfersy

Tania Elfersy

Tania Elfersy is a transformative coach, speaker and award-winning author, specializing in midlife women’s health. She’s spent years researching what causes and what can relieve symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause and became free of her own physical and emotional symptoms naturally and simply. Rachel quoted her extensively in her own book. Tania set up The Wiser Woman project in 2015 to help women transform their experience of midlife change. She’s the author of a brilliant new book, The Wiser Woman’s Guide To Perimenopause and Menopause.

We talk about:

  • What lead Tania to the work she does
  • How the body doesn’t malfunction suddenly in midlife
  • The innate brilliance of the body and what that means for menopause symptoms
  • The difference between how we respond to issues in pregnancy and menopause
  • The importance of focusing on the emotional and spiritual side of the midlife journey
  • The insight that allowed Tania to free herself from her own menopause symptoms
  • The interplay between Mind, Thought and Consciousness
  • Tania’s concerns about the narrative in the UK
  • Difference between the UK menopause narrative and North America
  • How women can best help themselves during midlife change
  • Tania’s thoughts on the Davina McCall documentary Sex, Mind and the Menopause

And more!

You can read a full transcription of this podcast here.

You can find out more about Tania:

Tania’s website: thewiserwoman.com

Facebook | Twitter

Tania’s book: The Wiser Woman’s Guide To Perimenopause and Menopause

Additional Resources:

14 of Tania Elfersy podcasts interviews

Calm after the storm: perimenopause, menopause, the brain, HRT, dementia and Alzheimer’s

Menopause in the workplace: a podcast and call to action!

Davina McCall: sex, myths and the menopause

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share it and leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.  Thank you!

Tania Elfersy
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