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What we’re reading: Best women’s health books in August

Top summer reads to enjoy this month

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The cozy season is just around the corner. As we head into the very last summer month, we’ve handily selected our picks of the best women’s health books you don’t want to miss.

 

The Female Factor: Making women’s health count – and what it means for you (£15.46)

The male body has always been the default body in clinical medicine, making the assumption that women are just smaller versions of men. This could not be more wrong.

The Female Factor is a bold, comprehensive guide to understanding women’s health shakes up the narrative for women of all ages, providing methods to protect and maximise your health in positive, affirming steps.

Spanning nutrition, movement, mood, sleep and 50 balanced recipes, this is a blueprint to understanding and aligning your wellbeing, your hormones and your body, both in the short-term and long-term.

 

Dare to Dream: My struggle to Become a Mum – A Story of Heartache and Hope (£7.39)

Having been told by doctors that, due to Izzy’s polycystic ovarian syndrome, they would have difficulty conceiving – after two years of trying, Izzy and her husband turned to IVF.

In Dare to Dream, Izzy’s aim is to break through some of the taboos surrounding miscarriage, IVF and fertility issues. This deeply personal account acknowledges the struggles that many couples go through but ultimately focuses on the positive, life-changing results that IVF can yield.

 

Period Power: Harness Your Hormones and Get Your Cycle Working For You (£11.68)

Period Power, is the handbook to periods and hormones that will help you align your daily life with your menstrual cycle and improve your menstrual health.

The hormones of the menstrual cycle profoundly influence our energy, mood and behaviour, but all too often we are taught that our hormones make us unreliable, moody, or that it’s our lot in life to put up with ‘women’s problems’.

Maisie Hill, a women’s health practitioner, knows the power of working with the menstrual cycle and refuses to accept this theory. Instead, she believes that our hormones are there to serve us and, if utilised correctly, can be used to help us get what we want out of life. Yes, we are hormonal, and that’s a very good thing.

Period Power reveals everything you need to know about taking control of your menstrual cycle and outlines The Cycle Strategy to help us perform at our best, throughout our cycle.

 

Everything You Need to Know About the Menopause (but were too afraid to ask) (£12.99)

Everything You Need to Know About the Menopause (but were too afraid to ask) by campaigner, journalist and documentary-maker, Kate Muir, is the thinking woman’s guide to the menopause, bringing you answers to all those questions that have been hidden behind a veneer of misplaced shame, bad science and centuries of patriarchy.

Muir draws on interviews with medical experts in the field, interlaced with her own tumultuous journey through the menopause and the personal stories of women from all walks of life, sharing their varied experiences and hard-earned wisdom.

As she debunks the myths that surround hormone replacement therapy and exposes the sloppy science and hysterical headlines, Muir questions why the current medical establishment is getting the menopause so wrong and takes a close look at the different options available for treating both body and mind during the profound changes that take us into midlife and beyond.

This guide is a social, cultural and scientific exploration into an overlooked and under-discussed phenomenon that will affect one billion of us by 2025 and calls for equality in healthcare and an entirely new approach to women’s health.

 

How the Pill Changes Everything: Your Brain on Birth Control (£8.67)

Hormonal birth control is taken by millions of women around the world every day. Yet until recently we knew very little about how the pill affects the non-reproductive systems of the female body, because research on these other systems was conducted almost exclusively on men.

In her book, Dr Sarah Hill, associate professor of psychology and a researcher in evolutionary psychology, uses the latest science to reveal how the pill is changing women and the world, for better and worse. She puts the power back in your hands to make smarter, more informed choices about your health and your hormones.

How the Pill Changes Everything reveals, for the first time, the crucial information every woman taking hormonal birth control needs to know.

Books

Five women’s health books to add to your Christmas wish list

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Nothing beats getting a good book for Christmas and, if you are like us, and you want to use this opportunity to educate yourself and dive deeper into women’s health, we’ve got you covered. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite reads this year for you to add to your Christmas wish list.

The Knowledge: Your guide to female health – from menstruation to the menopause by Dr Nighat Arif

GP Dr Nighat Arif brings women’s health to the forefront in this extensive guidebook designed to help everyone better understand each of the three key stages of a woman’s life. She will help you get to know the female body by explaining what is normal, what to expect, how to care for yourself and when to seek help.

The book, which features some brilliant illustrations, tackles many important topics, including the lack of help available for women with endometriosis to the symptoms of heart disease we should look out for.

The beauty about The Knowledge is that it encompasses all experiences, including the perspectives of women of colour, people of all abilities and cultures and the transgender community to ensure that all groups affected by female health concerns are a part of vital conversations

Menopausing by Davina McCall and Dr Naomi Potter

Menopause affects every woman and yet so many approach it with shame, fear, misinformation or silence. Why is no one talking about this? Who has the correct information? And how can we get it?

For too long, women have had to keep quiet about the menopause – its onset, its symptoms, its treatments – and what it means for us. Menopausing aims to build an empowered, supportive community to break this terrible silence once and for all.

By exploring and explaining the science, debunking damaging myths and smashing the taboos around the perimenopause and menopause, the book will equip women to make the most informed decisions about their health and their lives.

Menopausing will also celebrate the sharing of stories, enabling women to feel less alone and more understood and talk openly and positively about menopause.

This Won’t Hurt How Medicine Fails Women by Dr Marieke Bigg

The idea that medicine is gender-neutral is a myth. This isn’t inflammatory rhetoric; it’s simply true, argues Dr Marieke Bigg.

From the way pain is felt, to how heart attacks are diagnosed, to the very role society plays in the health of the body, the medical landscape in place today is one that was designed for, and by, men.

Her book is about all the ways medicine is not gender-neutral, from research to treatment to diagnosis. Throughout history, flawed mindsets have paved the way for sub-par treatment and the prevailing attitudes that still exist today have had terrible repercussions for women and their bodies.

Blending fascinating examples with historical and cultural context, and reflecting on her own personal experience with healthcare, Bigg explores how women’s bodies have been ignored, misunderstood and misdiagnosed, whilst keeping an eye to a better future.

Rebel Bodies: A guide to the gender health gap revolution by Sarah Graham

An empowering manifesto for change in women’s healthcare, Rebel Bodies explores the sexism within medicine and offers actionable ways for women to advocate for themselves and others and get the diagnosis and treatment they need.

Have you ever been to a doctor and felt like you were being fobbed off or ignored? Did they belittle or overlook your concerns about your health? Ever been told you’re just ‘hormonal’? You’re not alone, says health journalist Sarah Graham.

Women make up 51 per cent of the population and are the biggest users of healthcare services – for themselves and as mothers and carers. But all the research shows there are massive gender differences in men and women’s healthcare.

As women speak out about their experiences of gaslighting and misdiagnosis, Graham investigates what it will take to bridge the gender health gap.

Womb: The Inside Story of Where We All Began by Leah Hazard

In this book, midwife and bestselling author Leah Hazard sets out on a journey to explore the rich past, complex present and dynamic future of the uterus.

She speaks to the Californian doctor who believes women deserve a period-free life; walks in the footsteps of the Scottish woman whose Caesarean section changed childbirth forever; uncovers America’s long history of forced and coercive sterilisation; observes uterine transplant surgery in Sweden and takes a very personal dive into the world of ‘womb wellness’.

Combining the author’s years of experience as a midwife with medical history, scientific discovery and journalistic inquiry, Womb is an exploration of a woefully under-researched and misunderstood organ.

Above all, the book reveals that the uterus is more than the sum of its biological parts. It influences, the author says, all our lives in the twenty-first century and how we celebrate, medicate and legislate the womb might yet control where we go from here.

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What we’re reading: Best women’s health books for this summer

We’ve handily selected our picks of the best women’s health books you don’t want to miss

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In a world where knowledge is power, women’s health has emerged as a crucial subject that deserves utmost attention and understanding.

With the diverse and complex nature of women’s bodies and experiences, it is vital for women to have access to resources that empower them to take charge of their wellbeing. This is where the realm of women’s health books becomes an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom, compassion, and knowledge.

In need of a recommendation? These are the books we will be reading this season. Time to switch that OOO on and lose yourself in a smart summer read.

The Female Body Bible by Dr Emma Ross , Baz Moffat and Dr Bella Smith

The Female Body Bible was an instant Sunday Times Best Seller. Merging the latest science with the combined experience of its three expert authors: NHS doctor Bella Smith, sports research scientist Dr Emma Ross and athletic coach Baz Moffat, The Female Body Bible busts the myths and taboos that persist around women’s bodies.

This isn’t just a book, it’s a movement – a call to action. Every woman deserves to know more about her body and everyone, regardless of their sex, needs to know more about women’s bodies to remove the vestiges of secrecy and shame once and for all. This is the playbook of all the elements that go into getting the most out of your body, and a selection of strategies that you can try to find out what works for you and your incredible body.

Instead of prioritising how a body looks, we need to focus on how it feels and functions. When we listen to our body, understand how it works and embrace and nurture it, health, fitness and happiness will follow.

Everything You Need to Know About The Menopause (but were too afraid to ask) by Kate Muir

This is the thinking woman’s guide to the perimenopause and perimenopause by Kate Muir who also produced two ground-breaking documentaries with Davina McCall on the menopause for Channel 4.

The book is both personal and political, and debunks the myths and sloppy science around the menopause and the benefits of hormone replacement therapy.

Muir explains how women have been gaslighted for years about their symptoms, and told to “keep calm and carry on”, yet we now know that menopause can seriously affect mental health, with symptoms like depression, anxiety and sleeplessness.

The memory loss and brain fog which the majority of women suffer in perimenopause and menopause can really lower confidence at work, and in a UK survey one in ten women said they had left jobs due to menopause symptoms. That’s got to change.

The book also contains interviews with a diverse range of women about their experiences, and provides advice for those women who don’t want to take HRT. For those who do, there is good news: HRT doesn’t just prevent symptoms – it also helps lower the risk of osteoporosis, dementia and heart disease, as well as improving women’s sex lives.

The Definitive Guide to the Perimenopause and Menopause by Dr Louise Newson

The Definitive Guide to the Perimenopause and Menopause covers the key facts about hormones, their importance, and their effects on our bodies. It explores family histories and their effects on menopause, the complete guide to HRT, libidos, mental and physical health, how menopause affects our careers and relationships and so much more.

The book contains exclusive new medical research and answers the questions women most often ask Louise in her surgery. There are real stories from women who want their experiences to benefit others. And there is clear advice from other medical experts in related fields including neurology, nutrition, psychology, and oncology.

Dr Louise Newson says: “A lack of knowledge about menopause and access to treatment has left women needlessly suffering for decades.  Every day I receive so many messages from those who are struggling to cope and are desperate for answers.

“I have written this book to help women to feel informed, empowered and confident about getting the best menopause care, regardless of their age, background, or health history.

“From symptoms to treatments, and taking a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, this book is going to take away the guesswork for those going through menopause. I want this book to transform the way we think about perimenopause and menopause and to help everyone who reads it.”

Know Your Endo by Jessica Murnane

Endometriosis isn’t just about having “painful periods.” It can be a complex, debilitating, and all-encompassing condition that impacts one’s mental health, relationships, and career. Endo affects one in 10 women and girls across the globe, but even after receiving a diagnosis, many are still left in the dark about their condition.

In Know Your Endo , Jessica Murnane breaks through the misinformation and gives essential guidance, encouragement, and practical lifestyle tools to help those living with endo have more control and feel better in their bodies.

In this empowering and heartfelt guide, Jessica, who suffers from endo herself, shares a progressive five-week plan focused on learning a new management tool each week. Including sections on diet (with recipes!), movement, products, and personal-care rituals, Know Your Endo eases readers into a new lifestyle and arms them with the information needed to truly understand their condition.

Insights and help from endometriosis doctors and experts are woven throughout, as well as first-person accounts of how endo can impact every aspect of your life.

Finally, there’s a resource for all people suffering in silence from this chronic condition offering what they need hope.

Moody: A 21st Century Hormone Guide by Amy Thomson

There is a secret inside you which, once you understand it fully, has the capacity to unlock untold potential. Once you learn the science of your hormones, you will be able to harness it forever.

Hormones were something Amy Thomson, founder and CEO of the women’s health app and tech service Moody, never paid attention to, until one day her periods stopped and what had been an inconvenience each month became a barometer for her body’s health and mental happiness.

When she discovered that her hormonal burnout was driven by stress, she quit her job and focused on trying to understand how her body worked, to establish why and how she had pushed herself too far.

In this guide, Amy shares the research and science behind how our hormones work for twenty-first-century survival, how understanding them can help you build better and healthier routines, and why the systems and cycles inside us are an invisible but powerful force.

With insights from nutritionists, gynaecologists, endocrinologists, personal trainers and others, Moody provides a holistic and practical blueprint for understanding your hormones and optimising your life around them.

Up To Speed: The Groundbreaking Science of Women Athletes by Christine Yu

Over the last 50 years, women have made extraordinary advances in athletics. More women than ever are playing sports and staying active longer.

Whether they’re elite athletes looking for an edge or enthusiastic amateurs, women deserve a culture of sports that helps them training programmes and equipment designed to work with their bodies, as well as guidelines for nutrition and injury prevention that are based in science and tailored to their lived experience.

Yet too often the guidance women receive is based on research that fails to consider their experiences or their bodies. So much of what we take as gospel about exercise and sports science is based solely on studies of men.

The good news is, this is finally changing. Researchers are creating more inclusive studies to close the gender data gap. They’re examining the ways women can boost athletic performance, reduce injury, and stay healthy.

Sports and health journalist Christine Yu disentangles myth and gender bias from real science, making the case for new approaches that can help women athletes excel at every stage of life, from adolescence to adulthood, through pregnancy, menopause, and beyond.

She explains the latest research and celebrates the researchers, athletes, and advocates pushing back against the status quo and proposing better solutions to improve the active and athletic lives of women and girls.

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What we’re reading: Best women’s health books in July

Top summer reads to enjoy this month

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There is nothing quite as decisive as the summer reading list. With a mix of buzzy new releases and beloved bestsellers, we have the perfect edit of women’s health books for you.

 

Living PCOS Free: How to regain your hormonal health with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (£13.19)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder worldwide, affecting at least one in ten women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB). It is the number one cause of infertility. Alarmingly, three in four of those with PCOS remain undiagnosed because of the complex nature of the condition.

This practical guide will show you how to successfully manage your condition using proven lifestyle approaches alongside western medicine. With over 35 years’ of clinical experience, Dr Nitu Bajekal, AKA ‘the ‘Plant-Based Gynae,’ breaks through misinformation, providing clarity and support to help you tackle your symptoms – from irregular periods to acne and anxiety. The book features an easy-to-follow 21-day plan for hormonal health along with plant-based recipes and illuminating case histories.

 

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (£9.34)

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47 per cent more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued.

If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman. Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado-Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being.

From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.

 

Unwell Women: A Journey Through Medicine And Mythn in a Man-Made World (£12.40)

 

In Unwell Women, Elinor Cleghorn unpacks the roots of the perpetual misunderstanding, mystification and misdiagnosis of women’s bodies, and traces the journey from the ‘wandering womb’ of ancient Greece, the rise of witch trials in Medieval Europe, through the dawn of Hysteria, to modern day understandings of autoimmune diseases, the menopause and conditions like endometriosis. Packed with character studies of women who have suffered, challenged and rewritten medical orthodoxy – and drawing on her own experience of un-diagnosed Lupus disease – this is a ground-breaking and timely exposé of the medical world and woman’s place within it.

 

Cracking Menopause:While Keeping Yourself Together (£14.49)

It’s time for us to start talking about the menopause. Cracking the Menopause, from straight-talking broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and health journalist Alice Smellie, has all the information you need, delivered with characteristic wry humour. Mariella shares her own journey through the menopause, along with the latest science, advice from leading experts and humorous illustrations – to provide an informative source of wisdom and enlightenment.

Featuring case studies from women in every walk of life and all stages of their menopause journey, Cracking the Menopause opens up the conversation about an urgent topic that half the population will experience, but barely anyone is talking about. Designed to equip you with the knowledge to manage your symptoms from perimenopause onwards, this essential book separates the myths from the reality and offers expertise, hope and advice.

 

Arrival Stories:Women Share Their Experiences of Becoming Mothers (£18.52)

A wide range of women – actors, athletes, academics, CEOs, writers, small-business owners, birth workers, physicians, and activists – share their experiences of becoming mothers in this multifaceted, moving, and revealing collection.

Throughout her difficult pregnancy and following her frightening labor experience, Amy Schumer found camaraderie and empowerment in hearing birth stories from other women, including those of her friend Christy Turlington Burns. Turlington Burns’s work in maternal health began after she experienced a childbirth-related complication in 2003 – an experience that would later inspire her to direct and produce the documentary feature film No Woman, No Cry, about the challenges women face throughout pregnancy and childbirth around the world.

It is through Schumer and Turlington Burns’s conversations that the idea for Arrival Stories was born. By sharing their experiences, the contributors to Arrival Stories offer an informative and deeply affecting account of what it feels like when a woman first realises she is a mother.

The collection features essays by:

Serena Williams – Alysia Montaño – Abby G. Lopez – Amber Tamblyn – Shilpa Shah – Christy Turlington Burns – Emily Oster – Emma Hansen – Leslie Feist – Amanda Williams – Angel Geden – Adrienne Bosh – Latham Thomas – Rachel Feinstein – Ashley Graham – Jill Scott – Jennie Jeddry and Kim DeLise – La La Anthony – Shea Williams – Sienna Miller – Katrina Yoder – Amy Schumer

Intimate and urgent, Arrival Stories offers a panoramic view of motherhood and highlights the grave injustices that women of colour face in maternal healthcare. It is the perfect book for any expectant or new mother, or for anyone who knows and loves one.

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