By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter
Lisa Snowdon has advised women to work out their “triggers” to help process stress as they enter the menopause.
In an interview with Women’s Health UK, the 51-year-old TV and radio presenter reflected on how she managed her symptoms after she went into perimenopause aged 44.
She also discussed how hormone replacement therapy (HRT) “really helped” her and why she is supporting a campaign to make HRT more accessible.
Snowdon told the magazine: “I’m part of the Menopause Mandate campaign calling for HRT to be free on the NHS in England, like it is in Scotland and Wales.
“Since I went into perimenopause at 44, HRT has really helped me, but there’s still some stigma around taking it – much like talking about the menopause in general.”
The Department of Health announced last month that from April 1, women in England prescribed HRT as part of menopause treatment will be able to access a new scheme to enable access to a year’s worth of treatment for just under £20.
Health officials estimate that the change will benefit around 400,000 women, with a prescription pre-payment certificate for HRT valid for 12 months.
Under the plan, women can use the certificate against a list of HRT prescription items including patches, tablets and topical preparations.
The menopause usually starts between 45 and 55 years old, but it can happen earlier.
Symptoms, which usually start years before periods stop, include hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, headaches, mood changes, anxiety, palpitations, joint stiffness and recurrent UTIs.
The NHS say most (eight in 10) will experience symptoms for some time after their periods stop – and one in 10 women will suffer them for up to 12 years.
Reflecting on other ways to handle the symptoms, Snowdon said: “As we get into the perimenopause and menopause, processing stress can be hard. Working out your triggers can help.
“If it’s certain people, try to avoid them. If it’s caffeine, stop at one coffee. And if you say yes to everything, be mindful of that.
“We may not be able to do all the things that we used to do, but we can go a bit slower and look after ourselves.”
To manage menopause symptoms, it’s recommended to get plenty of sleep, eat calcium-rich foods, do weight-bearing exercise like running and dancing, and relax with activities like yoga meditation.
Snowdon is a self-described “holistic, hippy-dippy person” and alongside managing her stress levels she practises mindfulness, meditation, acupuncture, reflexology and keeping a journal.
“I’ve got crystals and I love burning sage,” she revealed.
“I sometimes have one-on-one sessions with a PT (physical trainer) called Paul. He’s a life coach and, like me, he’s quite spiritual. We have some great chats between sets.”
She has also begun incorporating resistance training into her fitness regime as well as aiming to complete 10,000 steps a day.
“Don’t underestimate the power of a brisk walk or a hike,” she said.
“I make sure I get a walk in every day and I’m always aiming to complete my 10,000 steps.
“My partner George and I live really close to Epping Forest, so we’re lucky to have the opportunity to get plenty of fresh air in our lungs and see the seasons changing.”
The full Lisa Snowdon interview can be read in the April issue of Women’s Health UK, on sale now.