While every woman’s menopause is different, most women over 50 will have had symptoms that affect their work and for one in three women, those symptoms are severe!
Did you know:
- Women are the fastest growing demographic in the jobs market.
- Eighty per cent of menopausal women are in work and in fact, around 4.3 million women aged 50 and over are in employment in the UK (2017).
- The average age of menopause is 51, but one in 20 women may go through an early menopause.
- Early menopause is before the age of 45 and Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) occurs below 40.
- Surgical menopause occurs after a hysterectomy or oophorectomy (ovaries removed)
- Some medication and treatments given for chemotherapy and radiotherapy can induce menopause.
Many women still feel they need to ‘put up’ with their menopause symptoms, just like their mothers did, and their mothers before them, but this is no longer necessary or even acceptable!
There are still working environments where supportive conversations around menopause just don’t happen! Women are often too embarrassed to ask for support, may not know what support to ask for, or are worried that people might think they’re not up to the job any longer! But that’s just not true! Women can continue to work and flourish through and beyond perimenopause, be promoted to senior positions, provide for themselves and their families, and continue to contribute to the UK workforce … with the right culture and the right support in place.
Here are some suggestions to help you have those Menopause at Work conversations
- First, consider how to get your symptoms under control. Do your research, read my articles and visit the links below, then discuss all your options with your GP.
- Speak to a colleague and talk through how you’re feeling. Ask them to accompany you when you do speak with your line manager.
- Prepare what you’re going to say. Tell your line manager what your symptoms are, what you’re doing to get them under control and what support you might need.
- Think about what that support will look like. If you’re having hot flushes, could the room be better ventilated? Do you need to ask for a fan? What about suggesting a thermostat is fitted to the radiators? Do you have to wear a uniform and is the fabric breathable? Can you swap places with someone who likes a sunny spot! Some organisations have adapted their uniforms, providing ones that are more comfortable for women at menopause.
- Flexible working is something we’re all familiar with and many women have found that working from home can be helpful. It may be easier to regulate the temperature, access toilets quickly, take a break, get fresh air or water when needed or start and finish work later. However, some women feel more isolated at home and miss the social contact which can help with their low mood.
- If you’re suffering with brain fog, explain why you need to write things down. Keep a pen and notepad with you.
- Low mood, anxiety and depression or emotional outbursts are common during menopause. Telling someone about this can help to reduce the stress you’re feeling.
- Some employees have set up Menopause Cafes – some virtually – for moral support and exchanging ideas.
You may be pleasantly surprised by your line manager’s reaction, because for them, making a few workplace adjustments is usually preferable to having absent employees.
What does the law say?
Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace are highly skilled in supporting menopause at work. Visit their website for everything you need to know including what the law says: “Menopause at work is covered by certain pieces of legislation to protect employees … the Equality Act 2010 … and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 …”. Jog Hundle, Mills & Reeve for Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace.
And finally …
I am delighted to introduce you to Helen Ford, Nutritional Therapist, who is passionate about nutrition and the therapeutic power of food to heal. Helen specialises in women’s health and works as a Nutrition consultant with Dr Marilyn Glenville at the Marilyn Glenville Clinic in Tunbridge Wells and Harley Street.
Every month I will be featuring one or two of Helen’s delicious recipes as a nutritious, colourful and sometimes spicy addition to my column. This month Helen shares two of her recipes – a tasty salad that’s easy to prepare and full of nutritional goodness and her famous “Carrot Cake Energy Balls” for when you get the munchies at work!
Visit Helen’s website at Helen Ford Nutrition for cookery classes and store cupboard makeovers or read her blogs on ‘Eating for a healthy Immune System’, ‘Sourdough Bread’ and much more. If you want to book a nutrition consultation with Helen, visit
https://www.marilynglenville.com/clinic/nutritionists/helen-ford/ and follow Helen on Instagram for daily updates.
Puy Lentil and Nicoise Salad
Carrot Cake Energy Balls