A woman from Huddersfield has used her personal journey of menopause to help empower and support other women.

Julia Lee, a former rugby league referee, began to see changes in her body both mentally and physically in her mid-40s.

Initially, the hot flashes, anxiety, and panic attacks were minimised. The real problems began to unfold in her early 50s when she was also diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

“I thought I was breezing through menopause, that was until I was talking to a physio friend who was concerned about my bone density and to ask my rheumatologist for a Dexa Scan.

“This made me curious about what was arthritis and what was menopause symptoms and when I asked my rheumatology consultant they just said ‘he did not do menopause and I needed to see my GP.’ This initially floored me, however, not deterred I went to see my GP, who sent me away from the appointment to research menopause and HRT

“This is where my menopause symptoms, which I had just been living with but had not realised began to unfold. My anxiety amplified and my brain went into a fog, my dyslexia increased, and my memory took a serious nosedive. Driving on the motorway and at night caused me panic attacks. I was forgetting people's names my confidence and self-esteem were at an all-time low

“I am just lucky that throughout my life I have developed a resilience to tackle adversity of life. I picked myself up and decided to train as a Menopause Champion, with The Menopause Expert Group. This alongside listening to hours of podcasts, conferences, and webinars gave me the knowledge I needed to be able to ask for the help I needed.

“I eventually received my results from the Dexa Scan to discover I had osteopenia, which was not a surprise with my family history. My anger began to rise, despite my risk of osteoporosis and my family history of Alzheimer’s I had never been offered HRT.

“It then came to me if I had not realised the impact of menopause how many more women out there are just ‘ living with the symptoms and long-term health effects of menopause?”

While some women are not affected by menopause a huge percentage are adversely affected by the reduction of key hormones oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Research shows that the reduction in these key hormones can have a long-lasting effect on many women. A higher percentage of women in later life are diagnosed with Osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, and cardio problems due to the lack of one or more of these hormones.

It’s a myth that ‘women pass through menopause’, as the reduction in hormones are part of their life going forward, coupled with the fact women are living longer it can have serious mental and physical health problems for the duration of their lives.

“This is when my business partner, Jaine Frampton OBE, and I decided we needed to empower women, helping them take control of their health and well-being during this stage of life their life offering support and education, so women can manage the changes and make informed decisions about their health.

“We wanted the information to be made available to as many women as possible in order for the to be better informed of what may be happening to them both physically and mentally” to accomplish this, we were lucky enough to access a National Lottery Awards for All Grant to keep the cost of attending the conference to a minimum”

Menopause Exposed Conference takes place at John Smith Stadium in Huddersfield 14 March 2024, 1000 – 1600”

Janie Frampton OBE founder and director at Team You said “We want women to learn from the latest research. We have invited menopause experts to demystify menopause and guide individuals on how to help themselves, we want the women to go away equipped so they can get the help and support they need. Our efforts have the potential to make a positive difference and contribute to the overall happiness and fulfilment of women in their menopause years.”

‘Menopause Exposed’ was awarded funding by the National Lottery Awards for All. For further information contact Julia Lee julia@teamyou,net