OPINION: Menopause certainly isn't an illness or an affliction

Rachel Moore says its important we better understand what it's like to go through the menopause

Rachel Moore says its important we better understand what it's like to go through the menopause - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Women can sometimes be their own worst enemies.

Finally, the menopause, a milestone in every mature woman’s lifetime since time began, has been yanked from underneath the parlour carpet and spoken about openly and frankly, with accuracy and understanding.

But, within the blink of an eye, greater awareness has turned it into a female ‘illness’ or affliction, and another stick with which to beat us.

It could have been so easy. Speak out to break the taboo, spread awareness, encourage women to seek help to manage the trickier and uncomfortable aspects to get on and enjoy life, talking about it but not milking.

But like anything to do with health, some ‘sufferers’ – how I loathe that word – use it as an excuse to win sympathy and get out of what they don’t want to do.

One minute, Davina McCall is flying the flag on TV for women to take control, educate themselves and access what they need to make the difficult years manageable to live a normal life whatever menopause symptoms are thrown at them.

Educating, encouraging and empowering the 1.5 million women who have symptoms to ask doctors for hormone replacement treatment to deal with hot flushes, night sweats and sleeplessness so they can get on with life has been a major breakthrough.

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But there will always be those who seize on any excuse to plead a debilitating condition to use as a get out of work/bad behaviour excuse card. It’s simply not on.

It’s like handing another excuse for work and family ‘banter’ to belittle, sideline or point to women's “weakness” or inability because of ‘hormone’ issues. This time it’s because of ‘the change’.

When was the last time you heard anyone blame hormones for a male’s behaviour? Yup, never. But it’s trotted out against women all the time.

This week, it was announced that simple over the counter treatment for menopause symptoms is likely to be available soon rather than forcing people through hoops and over barriers to get to the GP for a prescription.

Only 150,000 of the 1.5 million women with symptoms have prescriptions for hormone replacement treatment, which tells a story.

Buying over the counter is a solution to something that is now talked about openly is a huge step forward.

Now the universal physical change is in the open, can we now talk more about the lasting consequences for women everywhere of women who use the menopause as a huge debilitating cross to bear and an excuse for not doing.

Nobody wants a coward as a leader

If your husband, your wife, your child, your parent or friend was behaving like the prime minister, refusing to give a straight answer and proven to be not being open and transparent in the face of plain evidence, how would you feel?

Calls to “move on” from Partygate, accept mistakes were made and get on with far more important global matters is, of course, the party line.

But truth, honesty, transparency, integrity and trust are crucial values in any relationship, not least between a population and its elected leader.

The opposite of all the above signifies moral collapse.

Of all the words that Waveney MP Peter Aldous used in his carefully crafted letter to the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Backbench Conservative MPs, advising him that he has no confidence in Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party, trust was the most critical.

Mr Aldous said: "The prime minister has many attributes, one of which used to be the large groundswell of support he generated across the whole of society.

"I fear that based on the feedback that I am receiving that this has dissipated, that many question his integrity and that it will be very difficult for him to regain this trust."

Honesty is a critical quality of character. It makes you reliable, it shows respect, it gives more weight and value to your opinion, you are authentic if you are honest and honesty is

Admirable.

Honesty is brave – it’s cowardly to lie and cover up. Who wants a coward as a leader?

People blame the media in whipping up a storm about cake and booze and the country needs to move on from this ‘distraction.’

This distraction speaks volumes however about all the above.

It’s about leadership, accountability and responsibility. Bluffing, fluffing, swerving, blaming others and refusing to answer straight questions never makes for good leadership.

It is giving us all a big V sign.

My sympathy for Victoria's diet

Finally, a reason why Posh Spice looked so miserable with the Spice Girls and Victoria Beckham rarely smiles.

Her husband, David Beckham, delivered the answer on a plate. She doesn’t know the joy of food.

According to David, his wife has eaten the same meal for 25 years –grilled fish and steamed vegetables. No sauces, no oil, no butter, no variation.

How horrendous for self-confessed foodie to be married to someone who doesn’t feel the same. Sharing food is part of passion and relationships.

His confession that there was just one occasion they shared food from the same plate was an "amazing" one-off incident and one of his favourite memories is so sad.

"The only time she's shared something that's been on my plate is when she was pregnant with Harper, and it was the most amazing thing," David fondly remembered.

"It was one of my favourite evenings. I can't remember what it was, but I know she's not eaten it since."