Meet the women challenging the menopause taboo – SBS News

Posted: September 7, 2020 at 11:54 am

Video above: Hormone replacement therapy, does it work for everyone? Menopause, Tuesday, 8:30pm on SBS and On Demand.

Even though every woman will experience it, menopause and perimenopause, the hormonal rollercoaster years leading up to a womans final period, are still taboo subjects and neglected areas of womens health. But old university friends, Kim Berry and Kayte Murphy, decided to break the taboo around menopause making it OK to talk about being hot and cranky.

Kim and Kayte reconnected four years ago after meeting at university in 1992. Both pioneers in the Australian blogging scene, they decided to try their hand at podcasting, identifying a gap in people talking to women over the age of 40.

We were trying to work out what was going on with us. Were we psycho because our hormones were changing or were we psycho because our teenagers were driving us to drink or were we psycho because our parents were driving us mental, Kayte said.

So four years ago, aged in their early 40s, they started a podcast called The Hot Flush which they call the premier podcast for the perimenopausal. Because we are not in menopause, were peri, Kayte explained. Their aim was to share and talk about why their bodies were now behaving in ways they previously hadnt.

Kim Berry and Kayte Murphy decided to break the taboo around menopause.


Kayte, now 47, said when they started their podcast, perimenopause was a relatively known phenomenon.

Looking back now I started experiencing symptoms around 43. I was tired, I was cranky, I was sluggish, I was short-tempered, all of these symptoms had come to the front of the party, things that didnt use to annoy me like my husband chewing, all of a sudden I wanted to stab him! Kayte said.

Menopause is defined as 12 months from your last menstrual period. The average age for women hitting menopause in Australia is 51. The seven or so years leading up to menopause is called perimenopause, a time of hormonal transition. For 10 per cent of women the perimenopause stage can be symptomless but 90 per cent of women will get some symptoms. Up to 75 per cent of women will experience hot flushes and a third of those women will find them unbearable, 25 per cent will experience heavy periods and theres other symptoms like insomnia, mood problems, exhaustion, low libido, vaginal dryness and incontinence.

We wanted to talk about what we were going through and let other women in the process know they were not going insane, it was happening to other people too because you do actually feel like youre going mad because so many symptoms are nebulous and can be put down to other things like 'why am I so tired all the time?' well you are juggling work, partner, elderly parents, teenagers and a dog! Kim said.

And the itchy skin, dry skin, mood swings, insomnia, you find you are so angry or your libido dies. Some women get all of these things, some just get one, there is no guidebook. So thats why we started the podcast because we thought there has to be other women who feel like this and oh my god yeah there are.

Women say its so nice to know that Im not alone and it takes the heat out of what Im going through.

Kayte said nobody had explained to her what perimenopause was and how it affected you so it came as a surprise.

My mum said to me nobody spoke about it when she was going through it, it was called The Change and women were super depressed and then going on HRT and killing themselves and Kim and I were like what? It doesnt have to be like that surely. We can acknowledge that it is a shitty time and get through it together."

And its seriously one of the most fulfilling thing weve done. We get letters every day from women all around the world just saying the kindest and most beautiful things.

Kim said their listeners are mainly women over the age of 40 from all over the world.

Each episode has about 5000 listens and weve had 250,000 listens over that four year period. Our Facebook group has over 3000 members and thats a really active group, its private so women can talk about some really frank things there from stuff going on sexually, emotionally or in their relationship. Its a unique and safe space for women supporting other women, no judgement.

"Women say its so nice to know that Im not alone and it takes the heat out of what Im going through.

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Meet the women challenging the menopause taboo - SBS News

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