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Lynne Parkin runs The Menopause Café in the Axarquía for women to share their experiences. SUR
The menopause guru helping women in the Axarquía
Health

The menopause guru helping women in the Axarquía

Lynne Parkin worked as an NHS nurse for 26 years but retrained to help women with the menopause and has started a series of meetings

Jennie Rhodes

Axarquía

Friday, 19 April 2024, 17:19

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We need to talk about the menopause... and now women can do so in English in the Axarquía. Lynne Parkin is a holistic menopause coach with a background in learning disabilities and mental health nursing having worked for the NHS for 26 years. She has set up The Menopause Café, a free monthly meet-up for women who want to talk about and share information on their own experiences.

Lynne decided to retrain as a menopause coach, she says, "after experiencing the menopause myself". That, combined with her background in nursing, gave her the impulse not only to simply share experiences with other women, but to "get behind the science" of menopause.

"Menopause is a normal life event for women. It is not an illness or a medical condition," Lynne says, adding, "Because of increased life expectancy, we can spend a third of our lives being post-menopausal."

Lynne, 56, is originally from West Yorkshire but lived in Weston-super-Mare for a number of years where she and her partner Las both worked in the mental health sector before coming to Spain in 2016.

The couple used to come on holiday to Frigiliana and when in 2015 they decided to sell the business - a centre for people with disabilities (Lynne left the NHS in 2013 to work with there Las), it was Las who suggested starting a new life in Spain.

Pandemic

Not ready to retire and still wanting to work with people, they set up a holiday rental business in Antequera which was up and running by June 2016. The business was successful, but of course in March 2020 the pandemic hit and they had no income.

Added to this Lynne started to experience loneliness and depression and one particularly stressful moment was when she got stopped by the Guardia Civil in the early days of lockdown. Although this was quite a common occurrence at the beginning of the pandemic, the incident made her anxious and she couldn't really explain why.

In fact, there were a number of symptoms that she'd been noticing but not really given too much thought to until a friend came to stay after the first lockdown ended. "We started talking about all these symptoms we were having, some mental, some physical, and we started to realise it was probably the menopause," Lynne says. She thinks the pandemic "accelerated and compounded" her symptoms.

In fact, when she started to think back, she'd probably been having some symptoms of perimenopause since she was 44. "My confidence and my mental health were really bad and I went to my GP a few times. I was just given antidepressants, which when I look back now, I know was completely the wrong thing," admits Lynne.

With the ongoing uncertainty in the tourism sector during the pandemic, the couple sold the villas and moved to Caleta de Vélez in September 2021. It was then that Lynne really started to take an interest in learning more about the menopause and seeing what she could do to help other women.

A menopause guru

As an English-speaker in Spain, she had also struggled to find professionals who spoke her language and found the lack of information frustrating. She found a series of online courses including one designed by a British GP, Doctor Louise Newson, who Lynne describes as "the menopause guru in the UK".

Dr Newson specialises in women's health and had designed a course aimed at NHS doctors. Having worked for the NHS, Lynne was eligible to do the course: "I think that was the final piece of the jigsaw," she says.

Lynne then set up a series of 'menopause cafés' in the Axarquía, which are already taking off in the UK. The first one took place in Caleta in November 2023 and since then she's held them in Puente don Manuel, Torrox and Torre del Mar.

The next one is on Monday 22 April in Puente don Manuel from 11am to 12.30pm. "The idea is to find a safe, private space where people feel comfortable to talk about their experiences," Lynne explains. The cafés are free to attend. For further information see Facebook: Menopause, manage with confidence or WhatsApp: 622106713.

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