Published: 11th October 2022. Written by: Becky Bargh.
The celebrated broadcaster explains why going through the menopause should no longer be a laughing matter and how a podcast, not only turned her into a menopause advocate, but also help save her husband’s life.
Gabby Logan is a multifaceted woman. Predominantly known for her on-screen appearances she has been bringing us sporting updates, from Match of the Day to the Olympics, for the best part of three decades.
But as well as her other accolades: a mother, former international rhythmic gymnast and proud Welshwoman, most recently, the 49-year-old has found herself as a poster girl for menopause advocation and raising awareness, which began from a very 21st century source.
The Mid•Point is Logan’s podcast, which launched back in August 2020, with John Bishop as her debut guest.
“Why are we ignoring this group of people and leaving it up to their own devices?
The subtext of the podcast was to talk candidly about mid-life experiences and the challenges that inevitably come with it.
Bishop was a good place to start, having given up his comfy job as a pharmaceutical rep to become a full-time comedian – all in his 40s.
But it wasn’t Bishop’s whit that drew her into the conversation around menopause. Journalist and fellow presenter, Mariella Frostrup, was the catalyst for this particular passion.
More than lighting a fire in her to campaign for better treatment, diagnosis and awareness of the menopause, it was this conversation with Frostrup that made Logan take a closer look at her own health.
“I was 47 and I was not really talking or even thinking about the menopause and then I had
Mariella [on the podcast] and we spoke a bit about the menopause, she started talking
about symptoms, and I thought to myself that I was feeling like that,” she tells Vitality.
“And it was then that I realised there were a multitude of symptoms related to the menopause that weren’t the classic hot sweats, and because I didn’t have hot flushes or sweats or anything like that, I just didn’t think about possibly going through the menopause.
The pandemic, and the various lockdowns that came with it, was her initial guess for her anxiety, as well as getting older, but it was after a visit to the doctor, triggered by her conversation with Frostrup, that she found out her feelings were completely natural.
Read more advise on menopause from Vitality:
- 10 answers to your biggest menopause questions
- What is the menopause and what does it do to your body?
- How you can provide support to someone during menopause
“When I had my blood test done, I was smack bang in the middle of the menopause, with hormones being on the floor, and I finally had an actual reason for the way that I was feeling.”
Happily, Gabby was able to improve her mood with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which turned around her feelings of anxiety within the space of four weeks, and something she feels very lucky to have been able to access.
“When I was on HRT, I was feeling like I was getting back to normal and I didn’t have those feelings, and one of my bosses was giving me lots of praise, and I honestly feel that [HRT] not only restored my physical capabilities but I think mentally my self-esteem and eradicated a lot of doubt.”
“It’s all about proactive health
But more than combatting her own struggles, Logan wanted to continue the conversation around menopause symptoms and treatment to ensure more people are getting the treatment they need through one of their most “challenging” life periods.
“It’s a bit like when you’re trying to get pregnant, you become much more educated in an area, you don’t necessarily have that knowledge at 22, but at 32 and you’re trying to get pregnant, you learn more,” she adds.
“And so, I’m not surprised going into the menopause that I didn’t know much, but equally I didn’t see anything about it, so I didn’t have many sources of information; it wasn’t something that had ever been talked about in my family, or that I learnt about in school.”
According to 2021 findings from Menopause Support, a not for profit, established by Diane Danzebrink, 41% of UK’s 33 medical schools do not have mandatory menopause education as part of the curriculum.
Instead, many said that students would gain menopause education while on GP training placements.
This, Logan says, causes a disparity between women getting the right information and treatment they need, and turns into a lottery depending on where they live in the country.
“If you look at how we talk about puberty and what we educate kids on, you wouldn’t just ignore a whole other physical change.
“So, why are we ignoring this group of people and leaving it up to their own devices?” she asks.
“It doesn’t matter what you do – it’s not just CEOs or glamour women – it affects everyone. We don’t want menopause poverty for people on low incomes, who don’t have access to things that will help their lives and their relationships.”
It’s true that the speedy metabolism of youngsters wears off as we get older, and in particular once women hit the menopause it’s much harder to lose weight, what with hormone changes and the ageing process working against you.
Women are much more at risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more fragile, so bone health is essential to maintain bone density.
A dip in oestrogen levels is also a common offset of menopause, which can increase the production of bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol, and in turn can cause cardiovascular disease.
So, looking after your heart is incredibly important when going through and after the menopause; something Logan wants more people to know.
“It’s all about proactive health,” she explains.
“If you’re overweight you are carrying other health risks into that period of your life, and it can improve your self-esteem – that’s not something you want to be thinking about when you’re going through the menopause.”
A family affair
And Logan’s menopausal journey hasn’t just impacted her own life – but her husband’s too.
Kenny Logan was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2022, a prognosis that could have gone undetected if he hadn’t tuned into his wife’s podcast.
“My husband religiously listened to my podcast, and he came in after he’d listened to Davina’s [McCall] episode, and he said he wanted to know what was going on in his body,” Logan recalls.
“He booked himself in for a check-up and found out he had prostate cancer and so had his prostate removed.
“He had no symptoms and if you get symptoms, [there’s a danger] it’s too late.
“So, it’s been quite a game changer in my family.”
Taking her activation forward, Logan wants to remove the “cartoon-like” image around menopause – to use her own words.
“Because of the stigma that’s been attached to it [menopause] and the sitcom version of women throwing pans around the kitchen and having hot sweats, people tip toe around the subject.
“I’ve always thought that whatever the topic is that you want to achieve social change, you need society to come with you.
“We need support from our male colleagues, husbands and allies to be able to elicit the kind of change that will mean it’s not something we have to campaign in Parliament for anymore.”
Vitality offers menopause support at no extra cost with private health insurance. If you’re a qualifying Vitality health insurance member, log into Member Zone to find out how you can use the Peppy service.
Currently the UK government is undergoing an inquiry to examine the extent of discrimination faced by menopausal people in the workplace.
The Cross-Party House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee is now calling on the government to amend the Equality Act to introduce menopause as a protected characteristic, with a duty of care from employers to provide adjustments for employees that are going through the menopause.
But on a personal level, Logan has no interest in turning back the clock.
“I genuinely don’t care about being attractive to men, I’m happily married, it’s about wanting to be the best version of me.”
And at the peak of her 20-something strong presenting career, she’s looking forward to being the best version of herself in this new chapter of her life.
Or to find out more about Vitality health and life insurance visit vitality.co.uk.