Last year, the WiN Central England team had close to 100 people tune in to their first instalment of their Women’s Health at Work Webinar Series “Let’s talk about Menopause”.
Deborah Garlick of Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, discussed some of the facts and myths associated with menopause and the importance of talking about it.
Talking more about a number of subjects raises awareness which enables organisations to be more inclusive. Menopause is one of those subjects.
However, many women still feel uncomfortable talking about menopause, in particular with their line manager, and sadly almost half of all women will not even approach a healthcare worker for support.
Menopause is a stage in every woman’s life and whilst we may all have some awareness of the physical symptoms – including hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, weight gain, sleeplessness. There is also a group of psychological symptoms linked to menopause including: fatigue, difficulty with concentration, low mood, anxiety and worry, that are not so well known.
The average age for a woman to experience menopause is 51. However, the start of the transition to this stage usually begins for women in their 40s; in what’s known as perimenopause. Statistics have shown that 3 out of 4 women experience menopausal symptoms, with 1 in 4 experiencing serious symptoms.
Demographics show, that menopausal women are in fact the fastest growing group within the workplace, around 8 out of 10 menopausal women are in employment.
Shockingly, 1 in 4 women consider giving up work, because they are not aware that the physical and psychological symptoms they are experiencing are related to this stage in life. These are often mis-associated with life ‘being busy’ or combinations between working, raising a family or caring responsibilities.
Therefore, it is so important that, not only those immediately affected by menopause but also those working with them understand the symptomatic changes and consider how they can provide the right support. This can make a significant difference.
A change in behaviour of your colleague could be linked to menopausal symptoms. With more knowledge, we can all help and support those who may not yet recognise the possible links between symptoms and menopause.
Research shows that a variety of approaches to menopause transition at work such as talking about menopause, training for all, specialist advice, tailored absence policies and flexible working patterns, may all contribute to providing a better environment.
Talking may allay fears. Pointing a colleague in the direction of their GP, as well as the support of a team may prevent women from leaving their employment and can provide an inclusive culture that enables these discussions.
Not only women are affected by hormonal changes, others are too. This includes men, those undergoing fertility treatment or for certain medical conditions or gender reassignment. Males experiencing hormonal changes is andropause. This is when testosterone production drops. Male hormonal change starts earlier than women’s, is over a longer period of time and is usually more gradual.
Further reading and links:
Books recommended by Henpicked
Men…Let’s talk menopause – Ruth Devlin
Menopause: the change for the better – Henpicked
Menopause A practical guide to understanding and dealing with the menopause – Kathy Abernethy
About Deborah Garlick (who held the webinar)
As the founder of Henpicked, Deborah loves reading the wonderful stories and articles women send her – she reads every one. She has learnt so much and hope others enjoy them too. Deborah believes life’s about being happy and that we’re here to help one another. And that women are far wiser than they often realise, so let’s stop putting ourselves down. Deborah is passionate about helping women live better lives by educating on the facts about menopause. She is a menopause trainer at Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace and one of the authors of Menopause: the change for the better.