It’s Probably Your Hormones- new book

Weight gain, insomnia, libido loss, fertility issues and acne are just some of the possible signs that something is not right with your hormones. In It’s Probably Your Hormones, a new book by consultant endocrinologist Dr Mary Ryan, she explains how good hormone health is important throughout our lives, not just at menopause.

She also explains how by tackling problems when they arise, we can take control and improve our well-being.

“Many women struggle to have their health taken seriously,” Dr Ryan says, “and fail to get the support needed to manage debilitating symptoms.”

In this accessible book, she explains in layperson’s terms how we can recognise hormonal issues and balance our hormones with various treatment options, including HRT, diet, sleep and exercise in order to live happy, healthy and balanced lives at any age.

Beyond BMI

A new online weight management programme run by doctors has now been set up. It involves personalised weight loss that works with a person’s biology. To help achieve a 15%+ weight loss, the company provides a comprehensive and personalised programme; doctor-prescribed medication; video consultations with doctors, dieticians and health coaches; tracking tools and helpful tips via their Beyondbmi app. The monthly subscription is €150, not including medications. See

Free counselling services

You can now avail of six free counselling sessions from Turn2Me, the national mental health charity, without having to wait. Turn2Me releases available counselling slots at the start of every week. Free support groups run, most evenings, through the organisations website at 6pm. Book a slot in any of the support groups and attend that support group on the same day. Services are available all year round. Turn2Me is funded by the National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Free nicotine replacement therapies

The HSE has announced that nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and mouth sprays are available free when you sign up at your local stop smoking clinic.

Martina Blake, National Lead, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme explains, “There are over 60 stop smoking advisors based around the country to support anyone who wants to quit smoking. You do not need to be referred by your GP or doctor. Visit from the HSE to find a list of clinics near you or call 1800 201 203 and we’ll put you in touch with your local clinic. You can arrange a face-to-face appointment or a phone appointment.”

In a one-to-one session, HSE QUIT advisors will assess your nicotine addiction, identify your reasons for quitting, discuss your best options for NRT and create a personal plan to help you quit for good. If you join the HSE stop smoking programme, your local advisor will arrange for you to access NRT through your GP or your nearest participating pharmacy. Your advisor will keep in touch weekly for the first six weeks after you quit and periodically for up to 12 months.

Smokers account for 18% of the population, 14% smoke daily and 4% smoke occasionally. See

Guide to ageing well

Home Instead Ireland has just published its latest annual Essential Guide to Ageing Well 2023. It is a free resource and includes a comprehensive directory of contacts and services for older people as well as advice on health and wellbeing, diet and nutrition, care options, allowances and entitlements. It is available in Total Health and Haven Pharmacies nationwide and also online at

Jack and Jill ‘Incognito art sale’

This art sale takes place on Wednesday 26 April so hurry to have a look at what’s available! It is a mystery art sale and only after the sale will the identity of the artists be revealed. Register on to select your favourite artworks in order of preference on your wish list. On sale-day it will be the luck of the draw as to who gets what, but you could end up with an original by a well-known professional artist.

One of the postcard paintings available to buy at the Incognito exhibition.

Who painted what will be revealed on Friday 28 April after all the artworks are sold. No matter who the artist is, each small artwork is priced at €65 with funds raised going to provide Jack and Jill’s vital in-home nursing care and respite support for sick children with complex medical needs.

Should you let people kiss your newborn?

The answer is “no”, according to pharmacist Sheena Mitchell who founded the WonderCare podcast. She warns that you should wait until the baby is at least three months old before allowing this. This is because a newborn baby’s immune system is too immature to fight disease. Kissing a baby can put a newborn at risk of:

Herpes simplex virus (cold sores), RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and hand, foot and mouth disease.

Herpes simplex virus can affect a baby’s organs also, RSV can cause severe breathing problems and more. Anyone can be carrying RSV, even feeling well, and not know it. Hand, foot and mouth disease can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for a small baby. Children under 10 are most likely to be carrying this disease.

TIP: Emphasise that it is not personal and you are not paranoid, your baby is your number one priority and you want to keep them safe and well. Reassure loved ones that after the baby’s first vaccinations you will happily allow kisses and cuddles.

Be bowel cancer aware

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and the Marie Keating Foundation, in its No Regrets campaign, is asking those under the age of 60 not to dismiss symptoms but have a GP check-up if any changes in bowel habit are noticed.

“Early detection matters when it comes to a cancer diagnosis,” Helen Forristal, the Foundation’s Director of Nursing says. “We are highlighting that whatever regrets you might have in life, don’t regret not taking action earlier and ignoring any changes in your body. Bowel cancer can happen at any age.”

Symptoms to watch out for include dark or bright red blood in or on the stool, a change in bowel habits such as diarrhoea or constipation for not obvious reason, pain in the back passage, unexplained weight loss and a feeling of not having emptied your bowel properly after a bowl motion.

To watch video stories of people who have No Regrets because they went to the doctor about early symptoms, see

Tailor made mattresses

An O’Suan Sleep System has been developed by Wexford man Ray Murphy, which uses pressure-mapping technology to map a person’s pressure points and create a bespoke mattress according to their body’s needs.

His Perfect Match system can provide a mattress for a couple, with each side created to suit the individual. Prices start at €699 with a Perfect Match 5’ mattress costing €2,199. See

Did you know?

  • Menopause Hub founder and CEO Loretta Dignam has urged the government to mirror the UK and appoint a Menopause Employment Champion to help Irish women struggling with symptoms in the workplace.
  • The World Health Organisation has raised concern about the overuse of synthetic oxytocin (AOL) to speed up labour and birth.
  • UPMC has acquired the Sport Surgery Clinic in Santry, adding to its global care network which includes Whitfield in Waterford, Kildare Hospital in Clane and Aut Even hospital in Kilkenny.
  • Children’s Health Ireland hospital’s minor injury clinic in Connolly Blanchardstown no longer operates a walk-in treatment service. It now operates a same day appointment service instead. See
  • The website has recently added a weight management service that includes prescribed medication through their virtual GP services. Only suitable for patients that are diagnosed as medically obese. You have to register to use the service. Once approved, the Irish registered doctors at send your prescription to a pharmacy. See
  • Triggers for IBS flare-ups

    Many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) find that certain medications or foods can trigger a flare-up. Dr Subashini M, Holland & Barrett’s director of science, health and wellness makes these points:

  • Medications: like antidepressants, opiate pain relief and antibiotics can exacerbate IBS but don’t stop taking them without guidance from your doctor. Probiotics can help when taking antibiotics.
  • Alcohol: high intake especially binge drinking can be a trigger.
  • Stress and anxiety: can cause over-activity of the gut, diarrhoea and stomach churning. Identify your stressors and take steps to manage stress. Meditation, yoga and focussing on deep breathing can help as well as consulting a healthcare professional.
  • Poor sleep: gut disturbances can disrupt the parts of your nervous system that control sleep.
  • Menstrual cycle: avoid gassy foods like beans, lentils and onions and use a hot water bottle to ease the pain of cramps.
  • Eating too fast or on the go: take your time and sit up straight at a table to help with digestion.
  • A very sedentary lifestyle: an active lifestyle can help. Exercise can help food, waste and air move through your digestive system.
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