Team MM: When did you experience your first menopause symptoms?
Jo Wood: About 10 years ago, I noticed that my periods weren’t as regular and when I did have them they were really quite heavy. I went to visit a naturopath and explained what was happening. She advised me to start taking EstroBalance: a supplement which supports estrogen production in the body.
Team MM: Did you visit your GP?
JW: I didn’t really want to talk to my GP about it as I knew that they would suggest taking HRT or this pill or that pill. I’ve been an organic girl for years and my diet is really good and so I wanted to try and control it the natural way with diet, exercise and supplements. At the time, I was also splitting up with my ex-husband which I knew would affect me emotionally.
Team MM: Did that have a bearing on your menopause?
JW: Rather than having an effect on my menopause, I think my mind was so occupied with the divorce that I didn’t even really notice the changes to my body. I sort of went into it and came out it; no night sweats or hot flushes to speak of. I took the EstroBalance supplement everyday for about 3 years until my periods stopped.
Team MM: How did that make you feel?
JW: When my periods stopped completely at age 54, I do remember crying about the thought of not being able to have another child. It was quite strange and difficult to come to terms with – even at 54! But I have enough children and grandchildren to love in a lifetime and so I have no complaints.
Team MM: You mentioned diet as a key part of your strategy. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you eat?
JW: In 1989, I was misdiagnosed with Chron’s disease. Two years later, I became really ill and the doctor’s opened me up and found that I had a perforated appendix. They put me on steroids for two years which was awful so I went to see a naturopath called Gerald Green. He changed my life forever. He put me on an organic cleansing diet to clean up my system and wean me off steroids. I don’t eat any refined or processed foods and I don’t have dairy except for a tiny bit of butter in a restaurant but nothing further. I don’t eat red meat but I do occasionally eat chicken and fish although lately I’ve been eating a more vegetarian/vegan diet. I do love fish though and for me its the hardest thing to give up. I also take vitamin D3, fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin K and olive leaf supplements. All in all, I’ve had twenty odd years of eating clean. Sometimes, if I’ve been out and there’s been nothing to eat, I’ll have what’s there. But when I’ve eaten something bad for me, I can really feel it in my body and I feel yucky. If you eat badly you will feel bad!
Team MM: How does exercise factor into your life?
JW: I love to exercise and do boxing once or twice a week at BXR in Chiltern Street. I also go to the gym about 3 times a week.
Team MM: Did you feel comfortable talking about the menopause with your friends and loved ones?
JW: I did speak to my mum who was a great support and also my sister. My sister is 10 years younger than I am and she has just started hers. Her experience has been completely different to mine as she had a double mastectomy. She has approached and managed it differently.
Team MM: What advice would you give to other women going through or approaching the menopause?
JW: I think it’s a case of finding your own way of coping with your symptoms. For me, the natural way was the best way.
Team MM: How important is it for women to share their experiences of the menopause?
JW: I think it’s great that women talk about it especially with each other because it’s one of the most natural things in the world. Every woman since time began has gone through the menopause so it should be something that we talk about openly. I didn’t have a difficult menopause but if I had, I would definitely have spoken about it more.
Team MM: What projects are you currently working on?
JW: I’m mainly working on Jo Wood Organics. I make candles, body oils and fragrances. This year, I’ll be launching my salt scrub, body wash, face oil and probiotic spray so I’m in the middle of working on that. I’m also making a scrapbook of Rock ’n’ Roll that I’m hoping to release this year. I certainly have enough funny pictures! It’s been really nice going down memory lane and looking through all my old photo albums.
Jo Wood Organics is available to buy at Fortnum and Mason and www.jowoodorganics.com.