How does the menopause affect me?

This episode is a funny and frank discussion about women’s intimate health and the menopause.  


Host Anna Richardson talks early menopause; chatting about everything from HRT to sex, with celebrity guest Andrea McLean from Loose Women. Expert advice is provided by Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist Shazia Malik from HCA UK’s The Portland Hospital.

Vagina chat

Vagina Health Fact

The health of your vagina is linked to your overall health. So diet, exercise and reducing stress are all important factors to ensure good vaginal health.

Vagina Health Fiction

You need soap and water to keep your vagina clean. Shazia says the vagina is a self-cleaning organism, so applying soap inside can cause more harm than good.

Underwear Fact

You need to wash your underwear at a high temperature. Shazia tells us the fungus which causes thrush can survive a normal 40 degree wash. Shazia also says wearing underwear at night isn’t good for you - and cotton is better than nylon, which makes you sweat more.

The Big M

Menopausal Fact

A third of the female population is currently either post or peri-menopausal. And the menopause can last up to 15 years. Andrea McLean says how her peri-menopausal symptoms started at 37, just before she became pregnant with her second child.

HRT Fiction

The risk of cancer from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is high. In fact, Shazia says the latest data suggests the chance of HRT contributing to cancer is actually lower than we originally thought.

Menopause Fact

We all get through the menopause in the end! It’s about managing that transition effectively, according to Shazia. This involves monitoring your vitamin D levels, watching your weight, exercising, reducing your alcohol intake and reducing stress.

What to do next

Guests in this episode

Miss Shazia Malik

Miss Shazia Malik, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at The Portland Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK.


Shazia Malik is one of the UK’s most respected gynaecologists. She gained her medical degree with honours and a gold medal in obstetrics and gynaecology in 1991. She has trained in obstetrics in some of the largest tertiary level units in the country. Her specialist training was undertaken in Cambridge where she was also a research fellow funded by the MRC with a world-famous team looking at abnormal vessel function in women with excessively heavy periods or endometriosis.


She went on to successfully complete sub-specialty accreditation in reproductive medicine and surgery at University College London Hospital (UCLH), where she remains an honorary consultant.  


She has worked as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist as part of the recurrent miscarriage team at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, The Portland Hospital, part of HCA UK, and as a consultant in IVF at CRGH – one of the country’s leading IVF units.  


Whilst becoming a sub-specialist, Shazia pursued her interest in gynaecological ultrasound at King’s College Hospital and is currently lead for early pregnancy/emergency gynaecology at Chase Farm Hospital, alongside a busy obstetric workload.

Andrea McLean

Andrea McLean is a television presenter on shows such as ITV’s GMTV, Dancing On Ice and 3@Three, UKTV Style’s Our House, 5’s Espresso and most notably ITV’s multi-award-winning live daytime chat show Loose Women, which she hosted for 11 years. Throughout Andrea’s 22-year career, she has interviewed some of the biggest names in the business, including Oprah Winfrey, Drew Barrymore, Will Smith, Dustin Hoffman and Amy Schumer.


In addition to her television career, Andrea has written two books. Her first was an autobiography, Confessions Of A Good Girl, which spent two weeks at number one on the Sunday Times best seller list. Her second was the best-seller Confessions Of A Menopausal Woman: Everything you want to know but are too afraid to ask…. The book, released in June 2018, followed requests from thousands of women who contacted Andrea to ask about her experience of this hugely personal, and still largely taboo, subject.

Our gynaecology locations

The HCA UK group offer gynaecology clinics at a number of locations across London.

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