The Menopause, Cardigans And Me

Close up of black and white cardigan

For most women three things are certain: Taxes, death, and the menopause. At the moment I know which one I would give almost anything to avoid.

When I was young and foolish (I’m still one of those two things) I used to say that when I no longer needed my womb I’d get rid of it. I always assumed this would be straightforward. Particularly in Manhattan where I was living,when I determined that I was definitely ready to be rid of the thing that was facilitating my gruesome, long term menorrhagia. Read More…

Broken Sleep From Night Sweats


Is a common problem going up to menopause. According to a 45-year-old reader, who had been suffering from menopausal symptoms, taking Sage Complex has helped her greatly. ‘I knew it was working because I felt so much better. I stopped taking it and my symptoms came back. This time I will carry on.’ Sage Complex contains a number of phyto(plant)- oestrogenic herbs, all of which have been linked to balancing hormones and so helping to relieve hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. £24.50 for 90 capsules.


Fussy eating not only causes stress at mealtimes but almost half of parents worry that it will impact on their child’s wellbeing, according to a recent survey for Abbott Nutrition, manufacturer of PaediaSure Shake, a special supplement for children who may not be getting the optimum nutrition from their food. Working with a specialist psychologist and nutritionist, Abbott has developed a branded website,, offering guidance.

However, the second ingredient by amount after hydrolysed corn starch in PaediaSure Shake (£9.99, is sugar, which may not suit every child.
Leading nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville ( recommends Floradix-Kindervital, a liquid multivitamin, which comes in a fruity formula without added sugar (£9.25, ‘It tastes good enough to take on a spoon or you could add it to a shake.’ Read More…

Omega Miracle


My recent column on vaginal dryness attracted helpful advice from a reader… ‘My husband and I stopped lovemaking after years of unsuccessful treatment with vaginal creams containing low-dose oestrogen. My GP refused to refer me to a gynaecologist and knew nothing of any natural treatment. I read an article in Menopause Matters magazine on sea buckthorn oil, Omega 7 by Pharma Nord from Victoria Health, and its action on mucous membrane, including “intimate dryness”. I was delighted to find intercourse was comfortable and enjoyable again in under three weeks.’

Pharmacist Shabir Daya comments that sea buckthorn extracts have helped numerous women with dryness associated with the atrophy of the cells lining the vagina. Omega 7 essential fatty acid helps maintain healthy lipid levels in skin cells and also restores elasticity. He recommends a supplement called Omega 7 Sea Buckthorn Cellular Support by Sibu (£25.48 for 60, from Victoria Health as before), which contains essential fatty acids, plus micro-minerals that work to ensure optimal cell function.

Good Skin Science

Thirty years ago, when I first started writing about health and beauty, the human genome was being mapped for our DNA code, the basis of the science of genetics, and the bright white hope was gene therapy. That is being slow to fulfil its promise, but meanwhile scientists are increasingly absorbed in the field of epigenetics, which literally means beyond (‘epi’) genetics. Fascinatingly, this could, among other things, help us look younger.

Epigenetics refers to the impact of environmental influences on how your genes function. DNA code defines who and what you are in every way, from colour of hair to personality. But how your genes express themselves can change according to your environment and the events in your life. Read More…

Get an early view of your child’s eyesight


Q: Our six-year-old son is bright and happy at school, but he is not doing well. Could it be his eyesight?

A: Vision problems can often be the reason a child does not perform well at school, says Boots optometrist Carolyn Norman, ‘For instance, because they cannot see the board clearly. Research from Aston University shows one child in 17 aged six to seven has an uncorrected eye problem. By 12-13 this figure is one in ten.’

Children’s eyes are fully developed by eight years old, so it is vital to detect any problems before this.

Some primary schools offer screening. But this is not guaranteed and Carolyn advises booking an eye check with an optometrist before a child starts school, ie, four to five years old.

Common symptoms of eye problems include sitting too close to the TV, looking cross-eyed and holding a book too close to their face when reading. If you notice any of these, book an eye check. Early detection can help ensure successful treatment with minimum impact on the child’s life.

Poor vision is a common cause of tired eyes or repeated headaches. If a child complains of these, it’s worth consulting an optometrist. Read More…

Natural Help For Haywire Hormones


Q: At 43, I have night sweats before my period, insomnia a day or two before, and I’m so restless my husband moves to the sofa. Can you suggest any supplements or other natural remedies?

A: ‘The first step is to get a diagnosis,’ says consultant gynaecologist Michael Dooley. ‘Your symptoms could be due to several causes or a mixture.’ So do book in with your GP for tests (see below) and meanwhile try these simple shifts.

Keep a diary or follow a (free) period tracker app (eg Period Tracker Lite): this gives invaluable information for your doctor and helps you feel in control. Read More…