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Menopause cafe being set up in Canterbury

By Marijke Hall

When Elizabeth Carr-Ellis' hairline started receding, she was told by a doctor it was due to male pattern baldness.

Other health concerns she raised on multiple trips to her GP were dismissed as separate, minor issues.

Finally, after some time - and doing plenty of research, - the dots were joined and Mrs Carr-Ellis discovered these were actually all symptoms of the menopause.

Elizabeth Carr-Ellis hopes people will join her at Lily’s Bistro in Palace Street, Canterbury
Elizabeth Carr-Ellis hopes people will join her at Lily’s Bistro in Palace Street, Canterbury

The journalist from Canterbury, spurred on by the lack of support for women going through such huge changes to their body, launched the 50Sense blog and is now about to host Canterbury's first "menopause cafe".

Mrs Carr-Ellis says menopause is "one of the last taboos" in women's health.

She said: “Hair loss, aching legs, paranoia, anxiety, farting more - these things happen to women at this age, it’s not just hot flushes.

“Everything is anti-ageing, about looking younger, so we don’t talk about the menopause.

"You don’t say to your friends 'I've been farting a lot more' - but that's the reality.

“It's one of the biggest taboos and women often don't realise what they are going through and that they're not alone."

The 52-year-old, whose successful career has included being the first female night editor at The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh, says she has been through bad times with the menopause.

“But my good days are amazing. I feel invincible," she added.

"It's one of the biggest taboos and women often don't realise what they are going through and that they're not alone" - Elizabeth Carr-Ellis

“Menopause happens at a time of life when we are more comfortable in ourselves and so it is the best time to have it. We’re older so more strong mentally.

“On those good days, I can think rationally and tell myself it’s just my hormones.

“The menopause can be a really positive thing - it doesn’t have to be awful if there is support in place.

"I've become quite passionate about supporting women going through this, looking at how they've been treated and their symptoms”

It was this which sparked the idea of running a Menopause Cafe, where women - and men - can meet to break the silence and raise awareness of the impact on those experiencing it, their family, friends and their colleagues.

The cafes first began in Scotland in 2017, founded by Rachel Weiss, and have spread around the country and the world.

There are no speakers, no set agenda and no selling or promotions.

“It is a place to share experiences, have a cup of coffee, and talk to people going through the same thing,” said Mrs Carr-Ellis.

Mrs Carr-Ellis, who works at Hello magazine, hopes the free event can become a regular thing.

It is being held at Lily’s Bistro in Palace Street on Saturday, June 22, from 10am to 12pm.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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