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Meg Mathews wants to have a frank discussion about menopause

The rock chick turned menopause spokeswoman and entrepreneur gets candid with Paisley Tedder about her menopause mission

Meg Mathews wants to have a frank discussion about menopause

Former music PR turned animal activist, Meg Mathews, is turning her attention to spreading awareness about the menopause, and the effect it can have on the body, through her website Here, she shares her own difficult experience, why she’s determined to change the taboo around it, and how a plant-based diet can help.

I’ve been passionate about animal rights for most of my life, and today I use my platforms to spread awareness of the plant-based cause. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was nine years old, and my decision and journey has always been about preventing cruelty. I was brought up in South Africa where vegetarianism was a real movement at the time – that was 44 years ago. They were eating baked soya beans and avocado pears even then! When I moved back to England, it all seemed so basic here. Going to boarding school and being the only vegetarian meant that nobody knew what to give me – I was left with Marmite and gravy on mashed potato most of the time. My parents were concerned about my protein intake, but now, as a 53-year-old, I’m more muscular than any other women I know, and I was brought up on a completely vegetarian diet!

I’d recommend eating as healthy a diet as possible, with plenty of vegetables, whilst going through the menopause. I’d say a 90% plant-based diet is the best course of action, and try to stay away from salt and refined sugars where possible, as this will give you more energy. My own menopause experience was traumatic, and I believe that was primarily down to a lack of information. I had no idea that there were 34 symptoms; that you could get anxiety, aching joints, dry mouth syndrome; or even the effect it can have on the brain! I thought I was having a midlife crisis, because I didn’t get hot flushes, and I had the Mirena coil, which meant I wasn’t having periods anyway.

It was a real low point for me – I didn’t leave my house for three months as my social anxiety was so bad. The doctors put me onto antidepressants even though I wasn’t depressed. I had my hormones checked, and then they discovered my oestrogen levels were at zero. They put me onto hormone replacement medication and then I was back to being Meg again.

My whole experience empowered me to set up my website. It quickly got over a million hits, which confirms the lack of information out there. I wanted to be frank and honest about the menopause. Informing through my own experience, I spoke openly about the loss of libido and the more taboo aspects, which nobody else does.

Stress and anxiety are rising, and not only for those going through the menopause. Mindfulness is so important, too. I think we all need to take time out to self-love and take a step back when things become too much. Something as simple as a daily 20-minute walk outside, taking in surroundings and being in nature really does work miracles. If you’re getting the tube or bus into work, get off a stop before going in or coming home, and take a walk – it’ll clear the stress from the day so you can switch off in the evening.