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Women's Health

Own every day of the month.

women in striped jumper

Women's Health

Own every day of the month.

women in striped jumper
    2 women chatting

    We've trained over 600 Women's Health Coaches.

    We can help find the right solution for you.

    Book today
    Dr Coleen Draper

    Dr Coleen Draper

    Clinical dietitian and PhD scientist

    Maybe we should mark our menopause in our calendars and celebrate it as a midlife anniversary?

    Your questions, answered

    We spoke to Dr Colleen Draper, a clinical dietitian and PhD scientist with a special interest in women's health and perimenopause to answer some of your most asked questions.

    How do hormone levels change throughout a woman's life?

    "Hormones fluctuate across the lifespan including puberty, perimenopause, and during each menstrual cycle. However, they can also change due medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease, or even stress. 

    Oestrogen gradually increases during the follicular phase which is the first half of the menstrual cycle and reaches its peak at the midpoint of the cycle, during which time follicular stimulating and luteinizing hormones peak to promote ovulation. 

    Oestrogen declines at the end of ovulation and then gradually increases to a peak at the midpoint of the luteal phase, which comprises the second half of the cycle. Progesterone gradually increases to its highest level at the midpoint of the luteal cycle, as well. 

    When oestrogen and progesterone decline at the end of the luteal phase, menstruation starts. In the case of perimenopause, oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate and then decline enough that menstruation ceases. 

    Menopause is defined as one year since the last period and is characterized by low estrogen and progesterone.

    Healthy lifestyle behaviors like following a Mediterranean diet, exercising and getting enough sleep; while avoiding sugary foods and drinks and alcohol, can help regulate the uncomfortable side effects of changing hormones."

    We've got simple definitions of all the hormones you may have heard about here. 


    Am I in peri-menopause or menopause?

    "Perimenopause usually starts between the ages of 40-44 but this can vary with the individual circumstances. Signs include irregular and/or heavy periods, mood swings, irritability, weight gain around the mid-section, and even hot flashes and fatigue. 

    Once you have not had a period for 1 year, you are considered to be in menopause

    Actually, menopause is only one day, and then you are post-menopause. Maybe we should mark that day in our calendars and celebrate it as a midlife anniversary?

     After this day, you are considered to be post-menopause, which is the remainder of your life. Some symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood changes and weight gain persist for years post-menopause."

    Uncertain on the symptoms of menopause? Find out more here.


    How do I know when I'm ovulating

    "If you track your menstrual cycle, ovulation usually occurs around 12-16 days before your period is expected to start. You can calculate this to get an idea of your ovulation timing. 

    Also, you can check your cervical mucus to see if it is wetter, clearer and more slippery, which indicates ovulation. You can also measure the level of hormones in your pee with an ovulation predictor kit around the times you think you are ovulating to get a more accurate understanding if this is the case. 

    You may find you experience other symptoms during this time like sore breasts, bloating, and discomfort or pain in your lower abdomen but this is not a reliable method to use to determine ovulation as these symptoms can vary and are similar to PMS."

    Learn more about the phases of your menstrual cycle here.


    Why is my period so heavy?

    "Your period can be heavy for a variety of reasons. It can be a sign of a significant change in your hormones to which your body has to adjust. For example, your period can be heavy when it first starts, as an adolescent.

    It can also be heavy after pregnancy and during perimenopause when hormones are changing, once again. However, it can also be heavy from stress, depression and some medications. 

    Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your heavy periods."

    Experiencing period pain? Find out why it happens and how to relieve symptoms here.


    Women's health services

    Women's health articles


    Here at Holland & Barrett we aim to add quality years to life and truly champion wellness for all women.

    We recognise women’s health has been underserved for too long, and as the leading health and wellness retailer we are ideally placed within the community to help address the inequalities and lead change. Our new three-year Women’s Wellness Commitment will address four key areas.

    Democratising access to trusted support:

    We’re committed to reaching and supporting every woman from their first period to last and beyond, empowering women to optimise their overall wellness by understanding the rhythm of their hormone cycle across their lifespan.

    We’re committed to introducing over 600 Women’s Health Coaches to our high-street stores. Found in most H&B stores, each Coach has had expanded training created by medical professionals on the menstrual cycle, to offer free personalised support.

    We’re committed to upskilling all 4,000 store colleagues to offer guidance and personalised solutions around women’s health, this builds on their existing training for the menopause. 

    We’re committed to launching the UK’s first free menstrual health video consultation service which will see trained nurses able to offer further support and guidance on the hormone cycle and symptoms. This expands on our current menopause helpline. 


    Closing the research gap:

    We’re committed to commissioning our own ethnographic research on women’s general health and wellness in the UK and Ireland as well as reproductive health and women’s experiences to help identify the invisible health gaps.

    We’re committed to investing significantly in better understanding women’s health needs across different communities and backgrounds. As part of this, we commit that all future research we do at H&B across any topic will be inclusive of women’s health and diverse communities.


    Enabling health equity:

    We’re committed to reaching all women, across all communities. We will continue to invest in our Women's Health Community Fund with Wellbeing of Women to support women’s health-focused projects to reach thousands of women in underserved communities.

    We’re committed to expanding our services and content to be able to reach more diverse communities offering guidance and symptom support in multiple languages.


    Leading in product innovation:

    We’re committed to bringing women the widest range of natural and holistic women’s health support products on the high-street, featuring the latest science-backed ingredients and product innovation.


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