Mother and daughter start menopause support group in Ipswich

Debbie Youngs and her daughter Penny Youngs- Debnam are setting up a menopause support group in Ipswich

Debbie Youngs and her daughter Penny Youngs- Debnam are setting up a menopause support group in Ipswich, after they both suffered and struggled to get support. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A pub in Ipswich is starting a support group for women going through the menopause. 

Penny Youngs-Debnam, 42, and her partner own The Kingfisher pub on Hawthorn Drive. She is launching the group with her mother, manager Debbie Youngs, after they both suffered menopause symptoms but struggled to get support. 

“Everybody suffers in a different way,” said Penny, 42. 

“I've been suffering with a few things that link to the pre-menopause. I’ve been to the doctor's a few times now.” 

Penny and Debbie both started experiencing symptoms at an early age

Penny and Debbie both started experiencing symptoms at an early age, and found that they weren't able to access HRT products to help. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Penny said she had been given hormone tests, but had not been prescribed any medication to manage symptoms, because she is still considered too young. 

The NHS website states that: “The menopause […] usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline.  

“In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51.” 

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Common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration. 

Penny heard similar stories from her customers. 

“Speaking to other people, there are a lot women going through it, especially the younger generation, those around my age. But no help is given to them. 

“We thought maybe the experiences that my mum and the older generation have gone through could help. 

“It would be a support group where we can all get together, and talk about what they do, what they use, and what remedies they use to help with symptoms.” 

While younger women may struggle accessing medication, there is also currently a shortage of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) products in Britain. 

The group will give older women the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with younger women

The group will give older women the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with younger women, while also supporting each other. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Dr Caroline Marfleet is a women’s health specialist with a clinic at Nuffield Health Hospital in Ipswich. 

According to her, the main shortage is of Oestrogel, which has become increasingly popular after celebrities such as Davina McCall and Mariella Frostrup have spoken out about using it. 

“Demand has outstripped supply,” she explained. 

“There are alternatives. There is another gel called Sandrena, which works extremely well, then there are patches which come in a variety of doses, or sprays that go on the arm. 

“There is no medical difference between them, but it is down to what a patient prefers and has got used to. 

“You only need to miss two or three days and your symptoms return.” 

Penny hopes to announce a date for the first meeting on The Kingfisher’s social media pages soon. 

Penny and Debbie found that many of their customers had also suffered with menopause symptoms.

Penny and Debbie found that many of their customers had also suffered with menopause symptoms. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown