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There’s been a boom in menopause books this year, but Dr Annice Mukherjee’s The Complete Guide to the Menopause* goes one further. It’s promoted as a toolkit to help you take control and achieve life-long health. I’ve got a copy for one lucky 50Sense reader to win – so how does it fare…
Who is Dr Annice Mukherjee?
Can I have a moment for some first-name envy? Okay. Done.
Dr Annice is an award-winning consultant endocrinologist (which means she’s a doctor who treats diseases related to problems with hormones) at Spire Manchester Hospital who specialises in menopause. In fact, she has almost 30 years’ experience helping people with hormone-related illnesses and diseases.
But she’s more than just another GP writing a menopause book. She actually went through the menopause at the age of 41 following a breast cancer diagnosis, so she has first-hand knowledge of the disruption our hormones have (surgical and chemical menopause can whack you more than the drip-drip effect most of us feel from losing hormones). As a result, she’s able to add an empathetic stance to her writing that’s often missing in other medical menopause books – plus she’s the only hormone specialist to have written a menopause book.
She’s also a bit of a celeb favourite – Jenny Powell (anyone else automatically think No Limits when her name is mentioned?) and Sally Dynevor, the lovely Sally from Coronation Street, both give quotes for The Complete Guide to the Menopause.
What is in The Complete Guide to the Menopause?
The book is split into four sections:
- Setting the scene – a general introduction to menopause and symptoms;
- Your lifestyle toolkit – which looks at:
- Exercise and how to get moving
- An A-Z of nutrients
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Managing your sleep
- Weight management
- Understanding stress
- Mindfulness in menopause
- Understanding fatigue
- Bone health, and
- Natural and complementary remedies
- Treatment options when self-management is not enough – this discusses HRT and sex and intimacy
- Other menopause considerations – menopause in the workplace (hurray!) and menopause and breast cancer
All in all, it’s a good mix and I am delighted to see a whole section on considerations for menopause in the workplace. This is such a neglected area in menopause books and with so many of us now working, it’s a topic that could have a book in itself. Plus, my sister went through menopause with her breast cancer and I wish I’d had this book to give her then. (And to have read it myself so I could have helped her.)
What is good about it?
First and foremost, The Complete Guide to the Menopause is an incredibly personable book on menopause that manages to offer an understanding of the issues without being too technical or dry, but also discusses lifestyle without being aspirational or woo-woo (we all know which Hollywood superstar I’m glaring at…)
Each chapter is split into small sections, with graphics and tables – tables! – to make it easier to read and digest the information. You can tell Dr Annice is used to explaining menopause and complicated issues because she breaks it down into metaphors we can grasp.
For example, the House of Menopause is inspired: you are a house with the heating on and all the windows open, losing all your energy; with a few little lifestyle tweaks, you can close each window to have a warm, cosy house full of wellbeing. Personally, I find it much easier to cope with my menopause thinking of it in ways like this – our bodies are the most beautiful machines and we have to look after all aspects of them so they run as smoothly as possible.
This is what I enjoyed the most about The Complete Guide to the Menopause – the emphasis is on small, easy changes that we can all do and tweak to our own individual needs. Dr Annice isn’t telling you to jump in a cold river (never going to happen) or jump straight for HRT, ignoring the cons while emphasising the pros. Instead, she gives a series of simple lifestyle hacks to try. And don’t forget, these tips can be applied to our lives at any time, perimenopausal or not – you’ll always feel the benefit.
The more I research and go through perimenopause, the more I’m convinced that lifestyle is just as important as any medical consideration: the two must go hand-in-hand to help women not just at menopause, but into their old age too. I’m glad there’s a book out there that agrees!
See how The Complete Guide to the Menopause stacks up against the other menopause books that have been released recently. Check out my reviews of The New Hot by Meg Mathews and Amanda Thebe’s Menopocalypse*, The M Word by Dr Philippa Kaye* and The Happy Menopause from Jackie Lynch*.
I’m giving away one paperback copy of The Complete Guide to the Menopause. To enter, simply leave me a comment below. Open to UK residents aged 18+. Closing date 11.59pm on 10 June 2021. Winner chosen at random and will be notified within 7 days
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