Should you be pulsing your supplements?

Should you be pulsing your supplements? Clarissa Berry, Nutritionist for DIRTEA, reveals how temporarily pausing your supplements can prevent tolerance and optimise the benefits

Supplement pulsing essentially means taking supplements intermittently to prevent the body building up a tolerance, to reduce the chance of adverse effects or to optimise the intended benefits.  

It usually involves taking a supplement for a set period of time, for example three months, before taking an intentional break while you notice any changes. During this rest period, an alternative supplement may be added, or ‘pulsed in’, or not.

Supplement pulsing can also refer to tuning into your body to assess when you might benefit from a supplement, or when you can do without it. 

What are the benefits?  

There are several benefits to pulsing supplements. Some supplements can cause the body to develop a tolerance when taken continuously over time, so that eventually more of the supplement is required to achieve the same effect.

Our bodies are incredibly adaptive – they are continually responding and adapting to new situations. The body is always trying to get to a place of equilibrium, called homeostasis in biology.

What this means is that the body sometimes creates adaptations in response to a supplement in an attempt to keep the body in a state of balance, resulting in a dampening of the effect of the supplement. This is tolerance. Pulsing or cycling a supplement can reduce the chance of tolerance buildup. 

Supplement pulsing may also help to mitigate any adverse effects. Just like medications, supplements often have wide-reaching effects in the body, often beyond the purpose they’re being taken for.

taking a break from supplementation periodically, you can reduce the likelihood of adverse effects

In some cases, and in some individuals, certain supplements taken over prolonged periods can cause negative side effects. By taking a break from supplementation periodically, you can reduce the likelihood of adverse effects. 

There is also an argument that supplement pulsing more closely mimics our natural rhythms, which is something I always consider in my own practice.

When you think about the natural variety in our daily diets and how we are exposed to different foods at different times of the year, it is rare that our bodies are exposed continually to any one nutrient or food.

It could therefore be seen as more natural and in keeping with the body’s natural rhythm to take a supplement intermittently. 

Finally, there are many supplements that it is just not wise to take over extended periods of time, either because they interfere too powerfully with biological functions, for example supplements that affect hormone balance, or because they are intended to offer temporary support while underlying processes are restored. 

READ MORE: Experts reveal 5 healthy supplements you probably don’t know about but totally should


How to pulse your supplements…

The exact method of pulsing will vary depending on the supplement, its intended effects, potential side effects, and your specific goals.

When taking nutritional supplements, it’s always wise to work with a health professional, like a nutritionist, naturopath or doctor, who can advise you properly by taking into account your individual circumstances. 

Generally speaking, first you would need to define your cycle duration. A short cycle might be a few days to a week, for example a schedule of five days on, two days pause.

A longer cycle might last several weeks to months, for example three weeks on, one week off, or three months on, one month off.

start with just one supplement at a time so that you can identify the cause of any effects you may experience

You would also need to determine your supplement dosage, ideally with the help of a professional, and consider titrating your dose, which means starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it to the full dose.

Always start with just one supplement at a time so that you can identify the cause of any effects you may experience. Consistency is also key. 

When taking supplements, it’s important to tune into your body and how it feels. Nobody can know your body better than you, no matter how many degrees they have or lab results they’re looking at.

During both the on and off phases, notice how you feel, including any positive or negative changes when you start supplementation, when you increase a dose, and when you stop supplementation.

It can be helpful to keep a journal to record these and make adjustments to your protocol based on what you experience. 

READ MORE: Feeling tired all the time? Boost brain power with these 7 super supplements


How it works in practice…

While many supplements can be taken continuously without adverse effects, there are certain supplements where pulsing may be considered due to the potential for developing tolerance, risk of side effects and individual health goals.

Some classes of supplements that are often considered for pulsing include: 

Stimulants, such as caffeine. Prolonged use of caffeine is known to lead to increased tolerance and even reliance. Pulsing can actually maintain its efficacy and reduces the potential for side effects. 

Nootropics. These are supplements that enhance brain function and interestingly includes both synthetic and natural supplements. Synthetic nootropics should absolutely be pulsed (and treated with caution) as they have a greater potential to cause side effects.

Natural nootropics, such as lion’s mane and bacopa monnieri, can also be pulsed to maintain optimal benefits, however these are considered safe over prolonged periods and often have cumulative effects when taken long-term. 

I’m a big fan of DIRTEA’s Lion’s Mane extract powder, £39.99 for improving focus and general cognitive health. 

Certain vitamins and minerals taken over prolonged periods of time can actually cause more harm than good

Certain herbal supplements that affect hormone balance, such as chaste berry, black cohosh, fenugreek and tongkat ali, are particularly potent and may benefit from pulsing in order to prevent a process called feedback inhibition whereby the body reduces its natural hormone production due to supplementation, reduce the risk of side effects and ensure intended benefits.

Other potent herbal supplements that are important to pulse include those that impact the gut environment, such as antimicrobials and binders. 

Performance-enhancing supplements, such as creatine and beta alanine. These supplements can help to improve athletic performance, and while many athletes take these continuously, some choose to cycle or pulse them based on their training phases.  

Adaptogens, such as reishi, cordyceps, ginseng and ashwagandha. Adaptogens are supplements that improve stress resilience and help the body to reach a state of balance, which means that they are generally considered safe to take daily.

However, some people choose to pulse them to prevent desensitisation or to align with stressful periods. DIRTEA’s Reishi extract powder, £39.99 is my favourite way to wind down and prepare for sleep in the evening, and due to its particularly potency it’s beneficial to pulse on and off in a cadence of three months on to one month off. 

Certain vitamins and minerals taken over prolonged periods of time can actually cause more harm than good. For instance, single nutrients like iron or zinc taken in isolation can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients and even risk accumulation and potential toxicity. 

I would like to emphasise that the decision to pulse any supplement should be made after thorough research and ideally in consultation with a healthcare professional or nutritionist.

DIRTEA is a unique range of powders and Super Blends which harness the healing powers of functional mushrooms, adaptogens and Ayurvedic herbs to naturally enhance your wellbeing.

featured image autumn roundup

13 beauty must-haves for Autumn

Wondering what beauty must-haves are all the rage this season? Healthista has put together 13 beauty products you’ll want to add to your check out basket this Autumn – tried and tested

In the vast space of social media where beauty influencers and brands alike pump out daily content of why you should buy their product over another, I’ll admit – it shadows my decision making and becomes more of a task than a treat.

I end up with multiple items in my basket and end up buying none of it, even after hours of endlessly reading and watching reviews.

For that reason, Healthista have put together our top must-have beauty items and supplements that you need this autumn, to keep your skin glowing and your hair flowing.

Tried and tested, so that you don’t have to waste your time looking – you’re welcome!

#1 Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm £48.00


The holy grail of all cleansing balms – this luxurious award-winning product is used by celebs like Molly Mae and Victoria Beckham, due to its ability to melt away makeup and leave your skin glowing.

The pro-collagen balm offers anti-aging elements that is meant to hydrate, cleanse, even the skin tone, and even is said to diminish stubborn spots. Simply rub between your palms, rub smoothly all over your face, and wipe away with a damp cloth.

Even the reviews rave about how this product is a game changer on their skin. And we couldn’t agree more.


#2 Neal and Wolf Hydrating Moisture Mask £24.95


This vegan friendly hair mask left my thin hair feeling thicker and my blonde ends looking healthier.

It contains shea butter, argan, avocado, jojoba, and crambe abyssinica seed oils which were key ingredients to achieving what my regular conditioner can’t do.

Plus, it smells amazing and you can see the high-quality of this product.

Leave on for 20 minutes or overnight (like I did) and rinse out in the morning for hair that feels like its been deep conditioned all summer.


# 3 Anara Skincare Radiance Moisturiser £75.00


My first thought when trying this moisturiser was, ‘oh, that smells really good’ followed by ‘and it feels really good too’.

Although it is suitable for all seasons, this lightweight moisturiser is a great product to have to transition to Autumn, when the weather has not quite hit the peak of the cold, dry weather but isn’t blazing hot either.

I love a product that is versatile and can be used day or night like this one. The formula is rich in vitamins that help to reduce fine lines, firm fine lines, and stimulate cell turnover – leaving a radiant glow to dull skin (hence the name).


#4 ColorWOW Dream Coat Spray £27.00


This product has over 17k reviews, so I wanted to see for myself if it lived up to its hype on the internet. World-renowned celebrity hair stylist Chris Appleton claims this to be one of his beauty secrets in fighting frizzy hair during humid weather conditions.

This product is perfect for the upcoming rainy weather that tends to ruin a fresh blow out, as its anti-frizz formula leaves the hair smooth and stops the humidity from turning my straight locks curly.

To my surprise, I could notice the difference just after one blow dry, and that’s coming from someone who’s a sceptic when products go viral on the internet.


#5 Nanogen Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner – £9.95 per bottle


Like most blonde hair girlies, the damage from bleaching my hair consistently has me left with dry and brittle ends, making it hard to grow out my hair.

Nanongen’s thickening shampoo and conditioner formula is free from sulphates and parabens, which makes it perfect for my fine hair as it doesn’t weigh it down after washing.

Unlike most shampoos, this one seems to cleanse my hair without drying it out. The formula also consists of keratin to help strengthen your hair, green tea extract, and scalp rebalancing beta-glucan.

Although its only been a few washes since using this product, my hair genuinely feels softer from a few uses. In fact, I find myself reaching for this shampoo and conditioner over my normal one as it smells luxurious and leaves my blow outs looking fabulous.


#6 Arbonne Hyaluronic Acid Serum – £61.00


If there’s one product I have always consistently used on my face, it has always been hyaluronic acid.

For someone with quite sensitive skin, using too many products at one time or products that increase sensitivity has led me astray from diving deep into the world of skincare.

Yet hyaluronic acid has always added moisture back into my face when it’s feeling dry – a product that is a must have when winter is coming.

Arbonne’s DermResults Advanced Serum with Hyaluronic Acid is a daily facial serum that adds moisture and supports collagen production.

It also includes ingredients like Botanical Alpinia Galanga Extract which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, leaving the skin looking fuller and firmer.

For ease, Arbonne’s hyaluronic acid serum is a gel-like formula that comes in a pump dispenser, so you are never using more or less than you should.


#7 Hair Syrup ‘Grows-Mary’ Rosemary Oil – £15.50

hairsyruphairgrowthThis hair oil product has gone viral on TikTok in the last year, with an average monthly search of up to 100k for rosemary oil for hair growth per month.

Needless to say, it’s all the talk online right now.

But for a good reason, as this product has been shown time and time again through countless reviews on the app of it’s amazing benefits for growing your hair out.

Autumn is the perfect time to start self-care for your hair, with plans dwindling down before the busy holiday season. It is recommended to use at least 1-2 times per week before washing your hair.

A perfect product to pop in dry hair before washing it out as normal. Although I would double wash to ensure the oil doesn’t weigh down your hair if you have fine hair like myself.


#8 Nutrition Geeks Iron Energy+ – £6.99

ironenergysupplementsnutritongeeksFor someone who is very caffeine sensitive, I can genuinely say that this supplement boosts my energy that an average latte would normally do during the regular 2pm afternoon slump.

Aside from an energy boost, I’ve always been hesitant to take iron supplements as they can be quite harsh on your stomach. Yet I have been able to take this supplement with ease.

Having an iron deficiency can result in tiredness or shortness of breath, to name a few symptoms. It can be especially important for women with heavy flows, who are pregnant, or even menopausal to ensure they have enough iron in their bodies during these times.

A simple pill that includes Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin C & B12 – sign me up.


#9 Weleda Arnica Massage Balm – £14.55


Used by sports enthusiasts alike, the Weleda Arnica Massage Balm is a great product to have when training for marathon or even after a gym session.

This vegan friendly product relieves rheumatic and muscular pain, whilst soothing cramps and sprains. Plus the smell alone will make you feel like you are in a spa.

Pro tip – get your S.O. to help you out with this balm in sore areas for your own little at-home massage.


#10 SOQ Apple Cider Gummies – £9.99

applecidergummiesRather than drinking apple cider vinegar straight, these gummies provide the same benefits in an easy chewable form with a taste that won’t make your stomach turn the second you pop it in your mouth.

The benefits to apple cider vinegar in general are immense – from reducing cholesterol, boosting skin health, and helping prevent type 2 diabetes. All essential things to start looking after when moving into the holiday season.

The brand itself has plenty more chewable supplements in their range. From sleep to hair growth – all at an affordable price with 5 star reviews.


#11 NutraVita Immune Support Gummies – £14.39

immunesupportgummiessupplementsAn essential supplement I have found to help as a preventative for the upcoming flu season is the Immune Support gummies by NutraVita.

I religiously take these everyday, as they are vegan & gluten friendly, and include Vitamin C, D, and Zinc – which play a vital role in helping the immune system prepare for the A/W season. Let alone they actually taste delicious.

Also rated 5 star on TrustPilot, this brand offers a wide selection of vitamin supplements to get you through the next few months.


#12 Fabulosity Hair & Scalp Recovery – £53.00

gffabulosityhairmaskautumnroundupFrom split ends to frizz or just wanting to deep condition – I discovered this hair mask that can be left on overnight or for 20 minutes before washing.

The texture is very light and almost feels like a hair serum rather than a heavy mask, yet left my hair feeling silky smooth after blow drying.

The natural formula is nourishing as it is packed with ayurvedic rich ingredients, which according to the brand is antioxidant that protects your strands and scalp from environmental stressors.

The creator, Gustav Fouche, also has a lovely salon near Notting Hill where they offer many luxurious treatments – everything from blow drys to facials to mani/pedis.

#13 Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom Capsules – £22.99


lionsmanebeautyessentialsautumnHaving never tried Lion’s Mane before, I was surprised I hadn’t started taking it before, as the health benefits are endless.

The most important one I found for the having during this season is that it supports your gut health and improves your immune system.

Beta-glucans, which is found in medicinal mushrooms, is best known for fighting off infections and has the ability to destroy damaged or cancerous cells.

The compounds found in lion’s mane also work as an anti-inflammatory, which helps to relieve symptoms of gastritis by feeding good bacteria into the gut.

Hot Flush Handbag Essentials - 5 easy ways to keep cool and calm on the go    FEATURED

Hot Flush Handbag Essentials – 5 easy ways to keep cool and calm on the go  

Tackling menopause and hot flushes – when feeling and being hot is really not that hot. Healthista’s Charlotte Dormon reveals 5 tried and tested handbag essentials to help overcome a hot flush and keep cool and calm on the go 

Menopause, often called the ‘change,’ is a natural biological process that represents the end of a woman’s reproductive years. While it brings the insight of wisdom and self-discovery, it also comes with many debilitating mental and physical challenges, one of the most commonly talked about being hot flushes.  

Why do hot flushes happen during menopause?  

Hot flushes, or hot flashes, are sudden sensations of intense warmth that can spread across the body, often accompanied by sweating and a flushed face.

They happen due to hormonal changes, primarily due to a decrease in oestrogen levels, which impacts the body’s ability to regulate temperature during this time.   

As oestrogen levels decline, the body’s thermostat goes a bit haywire, becoming hypersensitive to even slight changes in temperature. When your body perceives a temperature increase, it triggers a cooling response, leading to the characteristic hot flushes that women frequently experience.  

Hot flushes aren’t just about feeling hot; they can be emotionally and physically challenging.

Here are some of the most common symptoms women may experience during a hot flush: 

  • Intense Heat: A sudden and intense feeling of heat, often starting in the face or neck and spreading throughout the body. 
  • Excessive Sweating: Profuse sweating is a typical companion of hot flushes, which can leave you feeling drenched.  
  • Rapid Heartbeat: Many women may experience an elevated heart rate during a hot flush. 
  • Chills: After the flush, you might feel chilly as your body works to regulate its temperature. 
  • Mood Swings: Hot flushes can sometimes accompany mood swings, irritability, anger and anxiety. 
Other side effects from decreased oestrogen include:
  • Increased Sweat Production: Lower oestrogen levels can increase sweat production, as oestrogen helps regulate body temperature and control sweat gland activity. 
  • Change in Sweat Composition: The composition of sweat can change during menopause, becoming more acidic. This change can provide an environment that encourages the growth of odor-producing bacteria. 
  • Vaginal Changes: Along with changes in underarm odour, some women may also notice changes in vaginal odour. This can be due to decreased vaginal moisture and changes in pH levels in the vaginal area. 

Healthisa’s Tried & Tested Hot Flush Handbag Essentials…

Hot Flush Handbag essential #1 FreshWipes Shower Wipes

hot flush essentials for menopause symptoms

Cooling, Refreshing and Antibacterial.   

FreshWipes Shower Wipes are a perfect product to keep in your bag to tackle those hot flush moments to help you feel fresh, clean and confident wherever you are.

Unlike regular body wipes/baby wipes that don’t decompose and usually stay in landfills, FreshWipes are made from natural plant fibres that are fully biodegradable and will compost just like regular fruit and veg. 

If you’ve ever been worried about body odour after being caught out with hot sweat, fear not, as FreshWipes are ideal for tackling smelly bits as they contain a special antibacterial agent that is used in the medical profession that effectively removes the body odour-causing bacteria that build up on the skin.

FreshWipes Shower Wipes as well as being helpful when hit with a hot flush, are also ideal for use to freshen up after a workout, during travel and after a hot, sweaty commute so you can feel instantly fresh and smelling gorgeous again. 

Currently available to buy from Amazon, QVC and Superdrug and come in three different options –  Coconut, Grapefruit and unscented.  

Hot Flush Handbag essential #2 FreshWipes Feminine Wipes

hot flush essentials menopause symtpoms freshwipes

Gentle cleansing and soothing properties for helping you feel fresh ‘down there’ after a hot flush experience.   

FreshWipes Feminine Wipes are pH-balanced to support the natural pH of the intimate area. This helps maintain the delicate balance of the vaginal environment, reducing the risk of odour and are enriched with soothing and moisturising ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and vitamin E.

They help keep the intimate area comfortable and hydrated, which can be especially beneficial during menopause when vaginal dryness may occur. 

They are discreetly packaged, making them perfect to pop in your bag and use for instant on-the-go freshness. Whether you’re at work, travelling, or simply out and about, they provide a quick and discreet solution for staying fresh.   

Hot Flush Handbag essential #3 The Sensation Cooling Scarf

sensation cooling scarf for hot flushes menopause symptoms

Designed to be a naturally chic, discreet and stylish cooling aid for when you’re feeling overheated.  

Designed by a women’s health expert and menopause coach, this almost magical cooling fabric scarf is ideal to pack in your bag and help you stay calm in those hot flush moments. 

When wrapped around the neck, back and chest (it can be used anywhere on the body you want to feel a cooling relief and will even work on a pillow if you want to lay down and keep cool), you instantly feel soothed by the soft cool sensation fabric.

It may look like you are wearing a regular scarf (which is handy in those moments, like during meetings when you don’t want to be armed with a handheld fan), yet the nature of the fabric technology means that it keeps dry and cool at all times.

The fibres wick moisture and water vapour away from you and accelerate evaporation.  It is this evaporation that provides an immediate cooling sensation.  Once taken out of its packaging, the scarf just needs to be shaken to be activated and then placed anywhere on the skin. This will provide an immediate relief.

This scarf is light, fashionable, and needs no preparation to be effective.  The cooling sensation provides immediate relief as soon as you drape it around your neck.   

Hot Flush Handbag essential #4 John Lewis Handheld and Foldable Fan 

john lewis handheld fan hot flushes menopause symptoms

Your No.1 fan when it comes to keeping you cool, this handbag essential comes in handy to keep you cool any time you experience a hot ‘moment’ –  be that on a busy tube, train or plane, sitting in a stuffy waiting room, or simply waiting in line for your morning coffee.

Despite the teeny size, it’s surprisingly powerful and quiet too. You have  3-speed settings to allow you to tackle the heat, and if you are doing your makeup or sitting at your desk and want to stay chill, it cleverly adapts to a fold-out stand.

Batteries are not required; simply recharge with a standard USB, and you are good to go.  

Hot Flush Handbag essential #5 Weleda Hydrating Facial Mist 

Weleda are leading experts in natural beauty and skincare, and if you’re after a cooling facial mist to keep handy without the worry of unnatural ingredients or unwanted chemicals,  this one is for you. 

weleda facial mist hot flushes menopause symptoms

With the temperatures dropping outside and the heating on inside, our skin can start to dry out when faced with extreme temperature changes.

Spritz the mist onto your face three to five times as and when needed, and enjoy refreshing and rehydrating dry skin with an oil-free moisture boost, calming sensitivity and cooling the heat. It absorbs quickly, leaving skin soft, fresh, supple and most importantly cooler.

‘Menopause symptoms ruined my sex life but this device helped me get it back’  FEATURED

‘Menopause symptoms ruined my sex life but this device helped me get it back’ 

Healthista spoke to Remi, 60 who reveals how her menopause symptoms ruined her sex life but was cured after using the Issviva X Joylux device for just 12 weeks 

Menopausal symptoms affect more than 75 per cent of women, according to the British Menopause Society 

Although not all women going through the menopause will experience a wide range of menopausal symptoms, the majority will.  

What is most challenging about dealing with menopause symptoms, is that the menopause can last for a long time, around seven years to be precise, with 1 in 3 women experiencing symptoms beyond the seven years (post-menopause). 

experts believe there are around 34 symptoms of menopause

Whilst most women attribute hot flushes, night sweats and changeable moods to the menopause, many are unaware that there are a plethora of other menopausal symptoms. 

In fact, experts believe there are around 34 symptoms of menopause.  

To name a few – tiredness, anxiety, poor memory, brain fog, irritability, itchiness and even painful sex can all be linked to the menopause. 

Healthista spoke to Remi, 60, who reveals how several intimate health symptoms associated with the menopause left her avoiding sex and intimacy with her partner for years and how she got her sex life back after the menopause… 

‘The pain during sex was unbearable’ 

Painful sex, vaginal dryness, heavy periods – I had never experienced intimate health struggles before, but just before I turned 50, my periods became extremely heavy. 

At the time, I was in an incredibly stressful job, so I put my heavier periods down to stress. I didn’t for one moment think that this was the start of the menopause, as it wasn’t as widely spoken about at the time.  

Little did I know that heavy periods were to be the least of my worries.   

Not long after my 50th birthday, I was offered a job in Kuwait, which I took. I was dating my now husband at the time, who agreed to move to Kuwait with me.  

After we moved there, my husband managed to get a job, but after that job finished, he moved back to the UK.  

It was during this long-distance part of our relationship, that I noticed sex had started to become painful. 

At first, I thought sex was painful because I was only seeing him every six weeks, as when you haven’t had sex for a while that can happen. But sex progressively became more painful. 

Vaginal dryness was a major factor causing the painful sex, and I have never had a problem in the past.   

But I also started to have thoughts of ‘oh gosh is it me, do I not desire my husband anymore? 

READ MORE; Vaginal dryness and incontinence? Expert reveals what causes these common menopause symptoms plus what can help 


‘I constantly made excuses not to be with him because I didn’t want to have sex’ 

Aged 54, four years after my heavy periods began, the pain during sex was unbearable, to the point where I would constantly make excuses not to have sex with my husband. 

Even when I came back to the UK, I didn’t want to have sex, and if we did, it was only the once.   

My husband and I would meet up and go on holiday to relax, but in the back of my mind I was constantly stressed and anxious, thinking about how much sex was going to hurt – and it did, a lot.  

I even started staying in hotels instead of at the flat so as not to endure painful sex

At this point, it was clear that my husband was starting to feel dejected, as I had made up so many excuses as to why I couldn’t stay with him when I was back in the UK. I even started staying in hotels instead of at the flat so as not to endure painful sex.  

When I explained why I was avoiding intimacy, my husband felt bad as he didn’t want to hurt me.  

‘I didn’t realise it was all related until we had seen the article’ 

In 2018, my husband saw an article about titled ‘Is the menopause ruining your sex life?’, which of course resonated with both of us.  

The article mentioned many tips such as changing your diet in order to cleanse your body. So, cutting out coffee, sugar, alcohol and gluten. It also suggested taking supplements and multi vitamins. 

I started to make some changes to my diet, but I wasn’t consistent with it.   

I was also having heart palpitations, experiencing brain fog and of course intimate health issues

When I moved back to the UK in 2020, I signed up for a 6-week menopause course. At the time I was having about ten hot flushes a day, I wasn’t drenched during these hot flushes, but I would constantly feel hot throughout the day.  

I was also having heart palpitations, experiencing brain fog and of course intimate health issues such as painful sex, vaginal dryness and a loss of libido.   

I hadn’t realised that all these symptoms were related to the menopause, until we had seen the article.  

After just four weeks putting what I learnt during the menopause course to work, the hot flushes had gone. I also learnt that I was magnesium deficient, which is why I was having the palpitations.    

I started taking Omega 7 and sea buckthorn, which is supposed to help with the lining and lubrication of your vagina, but it wasn’t working, and the painful sex remained which was still a huge concern.  

READ MORE: Menopause Mandate Chair Mariella Frostrup unveils their new campaign on World Menopause Day


‘I bought the device and used it religiously’  

Looking around for other remedies, I came across an operation called ‘Mona Lisa Touch’, a type of laser therapy to treat symptoms of vaginal atrophy like vaginal dryness and painful sex.  

I was desperate for help, so I was willing to go through with the operation, despite the money and possible side effects.  

resurfacing vaginal tissue and rebuilding collagen to tighten and rejuvenate

Luckily, at around the same time, I heard about a cheaper alternative to the operation. The Issviva X Joylux device – which also uses red-light therapy, aimed at resurfacing vaginal tissue and rebuilding collagen to tighten and rejuvenate.   

I bought the device and used it religiously, once every other day for 12 weeks, and progressively increased the red-light therapy.  

The device looks a bit like a vibrator, and was slightly uncomfortable at first, but I think that was my anxiety as obviously you’re inserting it, but once I relaxed and used the lubricant photonic gel, it was fine. 

REAC MORE: ‘I’m a skincare scientist – here’s 4 things you need to do for menopausal skin’ 

issviva x joylux menopause symptoms painful sex

‘I no longer felt pain during sex’ 

After the 12 weeks, my intimate health symptoms had significantly reduced. I felt I was around 75 to 80 per cent there where pain was concerned, but there was still some discomfort. 

So, I used the device for another 12 weeks and amazingly I got to the point where I no longer felt pain during sex, I couldn’t believe how well it worked. 

Another thing noticed was a tighter pelvic floor after using the Issviva X Joulux device 

I had never had a significant issue with my pelvic floor in the past and I wasn’t one of those people who would go to the toilet multiple times in a night, but I has started to notice that my bladder function had become weaker.  

So, not only had the device given me back my sex life, but it also brought my bladder function back to what I was used to. 

Physically I was cured after using the device for 24 weeks, but unfortunately, I still had some anxiety towards sex after dealing with painful sex for so many years. 

not only had the device given me back my sex life, but it also brought my bladder function back to what I was used to

Mentally it took me a while to get past the anxiety, but now I have come out the other side and no longer feel pain or anxiety surrounding my sex life.  

I still use the device once every week, to ensure the lining of my vagina is kept healthy. 

I’m so thankful and amazed that this device that only cost me less than £200 has given me my sex life back.  

I recommend it to everyone who is experiencing painful sex or vaginal dryness – it has truly changed my life! 

The Issviva x Joylux device costs £299 and can be bought from

SPECIAL OFFER – Save £100 now available for £199

Menopause Mandate Chair Mariella Frostrup unveils their new campaign on World Menopause Day FEATURED

Menopause Mandate Chair Mariella Frostrup unveils their new campaign on World Menopause Day

Mariella Frostrup, Chair of the Menopause Mandate unveils their newest campaign, outlining 7 pledges to raise menopause awareness on World Menopause Day (18th October 2023)

World Menopause Day, held on the 18th of October every year, is a day to raise awareness for women during the at times, difficult stages of menopause, in order to break stigmas and highlight the need for more support in the UK healthcare systems.

Mariella Frostrup, a British journalist and TV presenter, has been positioned at the forefront of this issue for menopausal women as she heads the Menopause Mandate campaign as Chair.

The purpose of this non-profit organisation is to not only provide advice for women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopause, but also to raise awareness to our health services and governmental organisations by emphasising the need for more support.

they found that 90 per cent of women felt that their quality of life has suffered as a result of their menopausal symptoms

Earlier today, Frostrup appeared on the BBC Breakfast show in light of World Menopause Day to explain the efforts recently made by the APPG’s Menopause Manifesto in the House of Commons, in support of the Menopause Mandate campaign.

As reported on the BBC this morning, ‘the manifesto aims to tackle the lack of understanding amongst policy makers, the public, and employers.’

The Menopause Manifesto conducted a survey in which they found that 90 per cent of women felt that their quality of life has suffered as a result of their menopausal symptoms.

Frostrup highlighted during her interview on the BBC that the survey also found 96 per cent of women have self diagnosed their menopause, with only 12 per cent finding out about it from a health professional, adding ‘that’s not good enough in the 21st century.’

The Menopause Menifesto has outlined 7 ways in which the governmental and healthcare services are able to tackle this on-going struggle for women across the UK.

Here’s what they have listed as the pledges below:
  • #1 Integrate menopause in the free NHS Health Check for women over 40.
  • #2 Establish a National HRT Formulary with standardised local prescribing guidelines.
  • #3 Incentivise menopause diagnosis in the GP Quality and Outcomes Framework.
  • #4 Require large companies to adopt menopause action plans with a better guidance for SMEs.
  • #5 Seek to license female-specific testosterone as an essential treatment option.
  • #6 Grant more funding for menopause research.
  • #7 Assess the gaps in specialist menopause care and increase NHS provision.

READ MORE: Vaginal dryness and incontinence? Expert reveals what causes these common menopause symptoms plus what can help 

mariella frostrup menopause mandate world menopause day
Image via Instagram. Mariella Frostrup (left), Carolyn Harris MP (right)

In response to what Frostrup thinks about the current state of menopause awareness following the presented manifesto in Parliament, she says, ‘the fact we are having to ask for GPs to be better educated on menopause in this day and age seems to be pretty tragic in itself.’

Frostrup states that the main point on the MP’s list is the 40+ health check, which would ensure that all women who are aged 40 and up will get information and support of what they will go on to experience at this point in their life.

‘It seems utterly ludicrous that you go to a health check – and the one thing you don’t find out about is the one thing you will absolutely go through’, Frostrup adds.

We will continue to carry on doing so until basic human rights for women are respected

Another point made clear from the survey was that one in ten women are leaving the workplace, due to menopause symptoms affecting their work and having no help from employers.

‘We can’t afford that, we are in an economic crisis we need everyone to be able to perform to full capacity.’

When asked what she thinks about the demands being seen in practice across the country, Frostrup responds with ‘absolutely, I think that all of them will become a reality.’

‘This can make a huge difference to so many women’s lives’, Frostrup says, ‘as one of the main things that [women] talk about is an absence of knowledge.’

‘A lot of noise has been made in the last couple of years, but not a lot of tangible progress. We will continue to carry on doing so until basic human rights for women are respected when it comes to healthcare.’


‘I’m a skincare scientist – here’s 4 things you need to do for menopausal skin’ 

Healthista spoke to skincare scientist and founder of Vive Skincare Marina Trani who reveals the 4 things you need to do to help menopausal skin

Dry skin, redness, sensitivity – if you thought skin troubles were reserved only for your teenage years, think again.

Throughout life, our skin is constantly exposed to challenges, such as UV light, changes in weather, oxidative stress, and air pollution – all of which causes a low level of inflammation.  

Another challenge our skin faces is fluctuating hormones, which can play havoc with the overall look and appearance of our skin. Especially when it comes to pregnancy and menopause, where we see significant hormonal changes and fluctuations.  

This reduction of oestrogen drives many significant changes such as a considerable drop in collagen

In fact, during the perimenopause (lead up to menopause) and menopause, many women experience a range of skin challenges, such as dryness, dark spots, a loss of elasticity, wrinkles, and sensitive skin.  

‘The main reason for these skin changes during perimenopause and menopause is that our oestrogen (female sex hormone) production reduces dramatically,’ says Italian skincare scientist Marina Trani, who has over 30 years of experience researching the science behind skincare.  

‘This reduction of oestrogen drives many significant changes such as a considerable drop in collagen and other key skin structurants.’  

Indeed, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, women’s skin loses about 30 per cent of its collagen during the first five years of menopause. After that, the decline is more gradual, with women losing around 2 per cent of their collagen ever year for the next 20 years.

READ MORE: Vaginal dryness and incontinence? Expert reveals what causes these common menopause symptoms plus what can help 


What are the first signs of skincare changes during menopause? 

‘The first sign of a weaker skin structure is the perception of dryness,’ explains Trani.  

‘Suddenly the skin feels very dry, and the effect of moisturisers becomes short lived. This is because, with weaker skin barriers, skin moisture is lost rapidly. 

‘Also, skin often becomes more sensitive with the occurrence of redness, itchiness, and blemishes. 

‘Lastly, the texture and feel of the skin will begin to feel less smooth and plump, and wrinkles and discoloration will become obvious. 

it becomes essential to support the skin in any way that you can

‘Referred to recently as ‘Menoface,’ this term is used to describe the hyperpigmentation and dark patches that start to appear around the neck, hairline, eyebrows, or mouth which is perceived as appearing less youthful.’  

As the skin barrier becomes weaker, lacking the ability to defend itself, and the skin changes mentioned above become prevalent, it becomes essential to support the skin in any way that you can. 

Marina Trani gives us the lowdown on what we need to do for our skin during menopause, plus which key ingredients can help deal with the inevitable hormonal changes. 

READ MORE: Dry or sensitive skin? 5 tried & tested menopause skincare heroes


#1 Find a hydrating moisturiser that works! 

‘Our skin is perhaps one of the most important organs in our body and a number of critical physiological processes occur within its layers’, says Trani.  

‘For these processes to happen in the most optimal way, the skin needs to be well hydrated.’  

The first plan of action Trani suggests is to invest in a good everyday moisturiser – regardless of age – as soon as the skin starts to feel dry and tight when using normal products. 

‘This becomes very important, as a good level of moisture in the skin is essential to activate the skin’s own physiological processes.’ 

#2 Opt for gentle ingredients over retinols  

Retinol is a popular ingredient derived from vitamin A that is added to many anti-aging products, however, Trani suggests that the use of this may be too aggressive on the skin for some women. 

Instead, opting for Niacinamide, may increase the skins’ ability to lock in moisture and is proven to strength skin barriers. 

Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is known to promote elasticity, reduce the appearance of blotchiness and pigmentation, and strengthen skin barriers.

‘The strengthening of the skin barriers allows higher protection from environmental stress such as pollution and UV radiation, and locks in moisture, providing intense hydration which in turn plumps up the skin for a more youthful appearance,’ explains Trani.  

‘Additionally, using skincare products that include CBD ingredients have shown to bring inflamed and stressed skin back into balance.’  

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive constituent of the Cannabis plant. The human body has an endocannabinoid system that receives and translates signals from cannabinoids. 

Vive is a clinically tested skincare range that contains a 3-in-1 Tri-active formula

‘When we apply CBD to our skin, it is thought to influence our skin’s own ability to respond to challenges resulting in a reduction of the appearance of redness and blemishes,’ says Trani. 

‘Zinc Oxide is also a great ingredient to look out for in skincare. Often used in nappy rash creams to soothe a baby’s bottom, Zinc Oxide helps manage the appearance of redness and protects from further irritation. 

‘It also forms a protective layer on the skin that helps retain moisture and guards against environmental damage. 

‘In general, my preference is for products that have a concise list of ingredients, as I am sceptical of an extended ingredients list. Less is most definitely more in skin care.’ 

Created by Marina Trani herself, Vive is a clinically tested skincare range that contains a 3-in-1 Tri-active formula of the ingredients mentioned above – CBD, Zinc Oxide and Niacinamide – to protect and preserve against hormone related skin changes. 

Indeed, clinical studies show that with 28 days of consecutive use of Vive’s award-winning Day Defence Cream, 91 per cent of participants reported a reduction in overall redness and an overall improvement in skin quality.  

Plus, 86 per cent reported intense moisturisation and 77 per cent saw a reduction in the visibility of fine lines.  

READ MORE: 6 natural remedies to tackle menopause symptoms

vive skincare menopausal skin help

Shop the full 5-product range at 

#3 Avoid harsh cleansers and scrubs 

Trani suggests that it is important to avoid harsh cleansers and scrubs on your face.  

Also avoid using soap on the face, as this can be especially drying for the skin.  

‘The effect of harsh ingredients has the potential to increase our rate of skin aging, due to the way these products can break down an already weak skin barrier,’ explains Trani. 

avoid using soap on the face, as this can be especially drying for the skin

‘Another tip includes avoiding any products that may contain a strong fragrance, as sensitive skin can have a negative reaction causing inflammation or breakouts. 

‘I suggest avoiding heavily fragranced products because of the risk of encountering ingredients that the skin cannot tolerate. I also suggest avoiding parabens and short chain surfactants.’ 

#4 Protect your skin from sun damage 

Trani emphasises that ‘some level of sun protection is even more important during menopause.’ 

In other words, the most important skincare product you should use on your face every day is the holy grail of all products – SPF (Sun Protection Factor). 

As mentioned, the declining hormone levels, particularly oestrogen, can result in skin becoming drier and more sensitive during the perimenopause and menopause. This can mean an increased risk of sun damage, including age spots and the appearance of wrinkles.  

‘Bringing a level of protection such as SPF and antioxidants are pretty much the building blocks behind all effective skincare routines.’  


Marina Trani has worked in Research & Development for 34 years. With an entire career spent studying chemistry and biology, she has extensive knowledge of the science behind skin and how to improve its health and appearance. 

As Marina noticed changes in how her skin was behaving – increased sensitivity, redness, dryness, and blemishes, she used her scientific knowledge to create a product that would build up the strength of her skin to make it more resilient to stress and deliver vital antioxidants and vitamins. 

Follow Vive on Instagram: @vivemybeauty