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World Menopause Day 2021

‘The change’, ‘the climacteric’, ‘the time of life’ – call it what you will, it is an unavoidable fact that all women go through the menopause. However, for many women this natural process is a time of anxiety and distress due to the various symptoms that can accompany it.  

What is the menopause? 

Menopause is a natural part of ageing in women and usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but in a few exceptional cases women may become menopausal in their 30s, or even younger. The menopause is influenced by a change in hormone levels. Oestrogen which controls a woman’s reproductive cycle gradually reduces over time and the menopause is the point in a woman’s life where her periods begin to stop, and her ovaries lose their reproductive function.  

There are over 30 symptoms associated with menopause, but the British Menopause Society list of most commonly experienced symptoms includes: 

  •  Hot Flushes 
  • Vaginal Dryness 
  • Weight Gain 
  • Sleeping Problems 
  • Stress & Anxiety 
  • Loss of Sex Drive 
  • Night Sweats 
  • Skin Changes 
  • Joint Aches 
  • Low Energy 
  • Low Mood 
  • Period Changes 
  • Brain Fog 
  • Sensitive Bladder 
  • Painful Sex 
  • Headaches 

The theme of this year’s World Menopause Day is Bone Health. Did you know…when you go through menopause, your levels of oestrogen and other hormones drop sharply? Because oestrogen helps maintain bone density, this drop can lead to significant bone loss and, over time, to low bone density. 

Menopause in the Workplace 

Up to a third of women will experience severe menopausal symptoms that can impact on their quality of life. It is in the work context that women often report greater difficulty in managing symptoms and can feel embarrassed and unable to disclose their menopausal status, fearing they may be stigmatised for being menopausal.  

The statistics are stark: 900,000 women are said to have quit their jobs because of menopausal symptoms, according to the Menopause Charity, with 80% reporting hot flushes and 60% brain fog…that’s 900,000 employees who might have been retained had they and their employer had better menopause advice and support. A TUC survey of 4,000 women found that the menopause affected the working lives of 85% of respondents.  

For employers, the menopause is a health and wellbeing concern for staff and needs to be handled sensitively. It’s important for employers to be aware that the menopause and its symptoms can affect any of their staff at any time.  

What can you do as an employer?

  • Attend training and awareness raising opportunities around menopause at work, and be clear about your role and responsibilities as a line manager 
  • Ensure you are familiar with the menopause and work policies or policies that mention the menopause and work 
  • Where staff are having difficulties maintaining attendance or performance due to issues relating to menopause, consider what adjustments could be made such as a change to shift times. Seek advice from occupational health as necessary.  
  • Allow your staff time to attend menopause awareness-related training/ sessions. All staff should be able to attend awareness-raising sessions, including colleagues of staff who may be experiencing menopause and those who may be supporting a partner experiencing menopause. 

Are you an employer looking for help with the menopause in your organisation? Head to www.talk-works.org.uk to find out how Talk Works can help. 


Useful contacts…

National Osteoporosis Society 

Freephone helpline: 0808 800 0035 
(Monday-Friday 9am-5pm – now open until 7pm on Tuesdays 

Menopause Matters 


RCOG Hysterectomy information 


The Daisy Network 

The Daisy Network provides support and information for women who have experienced a premature menopause. 

Website: www.daisynetwork.org.uk 

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