Continuing to break the taboo around menopause in 2020

Perimenopause coach, CATHERINE O’KEEFFE, aka The Wellness Warrior, talks about breaking the taboo that surrounds menopause, how far we came in 2019, and plans for 2020
Continuing to break the taboo around menopause in 2020
Catherine O'Keeffe Wellness Warrior

FOR many years, the menopause landscape was arid — no open conversations and little to no media coverage. The last few years, 2019 in particular, has welcomed a new evolving landscape.

This year saw Ireland’s first ever menopause summit ‘The M Word’ held in Dublin in October featuring home grown and international experts discussing and exploring the world of menopause. The tide has turned!

It’s thrilling to see the progress that has been made in simply 12 months. Personally, I have been speaking in many locations in Ireland and it is always with great openness that women attend, eager to learn more and eager to share their own personal stories and help each other.

The time for the menopause conversation is now. It’s happening and will continue to happen until it is accepted for the normal life change it is.

One of my favourite moments of 2019 was delivering a talk for the HSE to the Travelling Community — reaching all parts of society is a passion of mine and one I will continue to embrace — it’s imperative we go on this journey together as a nation and no-one is left out.

This year also saw the extension of Diane Danzebrink’s Make Menopause Matter Campaign to Ireland under the Make Menopause Matter Ireland umbrella.

The conversation around menopause is a global one and women are uniting across the world to a common aim — empowering, helping and supporting one another.

The Ireland campaign has three main aims:

Menopause in the Health Care system: Education for all women and families, same-sex relationships. Education for minority group, for example, women with intellectual disabilities and the travelling community. Education around the choices women have — lifestyle, medical, etc. Enhanced education and awareness for GPs in relation to menopause

Menopause in the Workplace: Promotion within workplaces of the symptoms of menopause and ensuring in house support for women. Women are at their most creative in menopause — this needs to be embraced and women acknowledged for the knowledge and wisdom they have achieved over the years.

Secondary School Education: The addition of Menopause to the Curriculum. The UK achieved this in the last few months, all countries should follow suit.

You can help by signing our campaign on

The health of midlife women will get a further boost in 2020, with the Department of Health’s new Womens Health Taskforce highlighting Menopause as one of the top health concerns amongst Irish women.

We are watching a massive cultural shift in workplaces at the moment. We have delivered workshops to progressive companies like Oriflame, Coke, and Irish Cement, as part of their employee well-being program.

What that means for midlife women is awareness, understanding and support 9 to 5 during the years that menopause can be tough on physical and mental health.

If 2018/19 have been about women understanding this seismic change in their own bodies, then 2020 will see more outreach on menopause to partners.

It’s crucial because, as we know, a difficult menopause can have profound effects on relationships and family life. When dealing with a challenging menopause, the support and understanding of your partner and family can make a huge difference.


It’s important to bring information to women in their communities.

So I’m starting 2020 with a talk in Cork on January 9 at the Kingsley Hotel.

‘Perimenopause Unplugged’ will be a primer on perimenopause and menopause: What to expect, how to prepare, how to ease symptoms, and more importantly, what you can do to thrive through this chapter in your life.

I’ll be looking at the options available from the natural route to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), allowing you to understand these options in an unbiased and informed way.

Tickets for the event are for sale on Eventbrite with all further details for the night also available at:

For more also on Catherine’s work, see

“We are watching a massive cultural shift in workplaces.”

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