When Emma began experiencing symptoms of the menopause at the age of 51, she was initially taken aback at the physical and emotional impact.
“I was aware that the menopause existed, of course,” she says.
“But I’d never paid too much attention to what was involved.
“I still felt young. And when it gradually became obvious that I was going through the menopause, I realised I didn’t know enough about what was happening.”
She also believed the arrival of hot sweats and sudden mood changes were just something she would have to accept and get on with.
But when she started bursting into tears, which was completely out of character, she decided to take a more proactive approach.
“I tried to do a bit of research online,” she recalls. “But I just got bombarded with different stuff. I didn’t know what applied to me and what didn’t.
“So I decided to make an appointment with my doctor’s surgery.
“But when I asked if I could see someone who specialised in the menopause and women’s health, they said that wasn’t possible.
“Then I asked if I could see a female doctor and they said ‘No’.
“Nor could they give me an appointment that would last longer than ten minutes.”
It was at this point that Emma, who is married with a grown-up son, decided to look elsewhere for more personalised assistance.
She explains: “Ten minutes with a GP was not enough. There was no way I could cover what I wanted to cover in such a short space of time.”
Emma, a medical secretary who lives in Hertfordshire, then discovered Peppy on The Latte Lounge Facebook page.
She said: “I booked an appointment, and had a telephone consultation for over 45 minutes.
“I got to choose from a list of specialised menopause practitioners and nurses, and I was able to go through every single question I wanted to ask.
“I got an answer for everything, along with facts and information that applied to me personally, as an individual.
“I asked everything about everything, and it was absolutely brilliant. I felt so much better about everything afterwards.
“I felt informed and very empowered. It was probably the best money I have ever spent.”
Knowledge is power
After her telephone appointment (and receiving a detailed written report from her practitioner) Emma decided to visit her GP – but with a completely different mindset.
“I went to see him and actually spent the time telling the doctor what I wanted and needed in terms of medication, rather than asking questions,” she said.
She added: “The menopause still feels slightly hideous sometimes, but I am much more in control now because I know what’s happening, and why.
“Part of the problem of menopause is not knowing what’s going on.
“Things like memory mist and being really forgetful, are things that can be really quite frightening.”
She goes on: “The symptoms continue, but you can manage them more easily when you know what they are and why they’re there.
“It’s easy to get overwhelmed, which is why I just wanted to speak to one person, who knew what they were talking about, to go through what was happening to me. And it’s changed the way I feel about my menopause.”