Menopause Information

Facts & figures, questions and answers.  We aim to provide valuable information to help start your organisation on the journey towards being menopause aware and menopause friendly.

Statistics

Menopause by Numbers 

Statistics and information taken from various sources including The British Menopause Society (BMS), International Menopause Society (IMS), European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS), Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM), Farleys Solicitors, forthwithlife.co.uk and the Faculty of Public Health (FPH)  

%

Working Life Affected

63 % of menopausal women say their working life has been negatively affected by their symptoms

%

Severe Symptoms

In a recent survey 25% of women describe their symptoms as severe

70% of Women Work

Data published by the Office for National Statistic showed that 70% of women in the UK are in paid employment and that women comprise 47% of the UK workforce.

Greater % of the Workforce

Over the last 30 years, the proportion of women aged 55-59 in UK employment has gone up from 49% to 69% and for women aged 60-64 from 18% to 41%.

No Support

A staggering 90% of the women who responded to a recent survey said that their workplace had no help available at all when it came to employees going through the menopause.

Menopause Symptoms At Work

58% of the women surveyed said that they were still affected by symptoms of the menopause, and that this sometimes caused them problems at work.

Almost half said that their poor concentration or forgetfulness has led them to make more mistakes, while 40% admitted to losing interest in their job as a result.

11% forwent the opportunity for promotion because of the menopause, and 8% believed that their symptoms played some part in them resigning their position.

  • Hot Flushes 80% 80%
  • Feeling tired or drowsy 63% 63%
  • Low Mood 48% 48%
  • Difficulty Concentrating 47% 47%
  • Memory Problems  43% 43%

%

Menopausal Age In Work

Around 75-80% of women of menopausal age are in work.

%

Improve Support

72% of women said that their workplace needed to improve the level of support.

%

Menopause Symptoms

Menopause symptoms affect 70-80% of all women.

%

Line Manager Training

Only 3% of line managers are trained to provide help and support.

Symptoms

The Symptoms of Menopause

Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on everyday activities. Below are some of the more common symptoms of menopause. However, it’s worth remembering that symptoms are unique to each individual. 

Hot Flushes

A common symptom of the menopausal transition, hot flushes are uncomfortable, unpredictable, embarrassing and can last for many years. During a hot flush, the blood rushing to the vessels nearest the skin may raise skin temperature by five to seven degrees, but core body temperature will remain normal. Hot flushes may be triggered by hot weather, smoking, caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, tight clothing, heat and stress. Symptoms can be managed with HRT or holistic therapies.

Night Sweats

Similar to hot flushes, night sweats are periods of heavy sweating, that occur at night. They can often wake women up from sleep or disrupt sleep patterns, affecting physical and mental health. Night sweats are triggered by a change in hormone levels associated with the perimenopause and menopause which affect the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature in the brain. Like hot flushes, symptoms are difficult to regulate and predict.  Keeping the bedroom environment cool, taking a cool shower before bed and exercising regularly can help as can HRT.

Insomnia

A reduction in the hormone progesterone which stimulates the production of neurotransmitters that help sleep is responsible for causing anxiety and restlessness and a tendency to wake frequently during the night. Poor sleep patterns can cause irritability and fatigue, common symptoms associated with the menopause. The traditional method of dealing with insomnia during menopause is HRT.  Melatonin and oestrogen rich foods such as soy and flaxseed can help, as can meditation and yoga.

Lack of Libido (reduced sex drive)

Lack of libido can often be linked to stress or tiredness, but can be also be a sign of an underlying problem, such as reduced hormone levels. There’s no such thing as a “normal” libido but a lack of desire for sex can be distressing and affect relationships.  HRT can help, as can identifying the root cause of the problem such as anxiety, weight gain, vaginal dryness.

Vaginal Dryness

With this condition, vaginal tissues become thinner and easily irritated and itchy — resulting from the natural decline in the body’s oestrogen levels during menopause. Sex can therefore be painful resulting in discomfort. Vaginal dryness should not be ignored. Usually localised HRT pessaries prescribed by a GP can help to relieve symptoms.

Mood Swings

Hormone fluctuations in perimenopause can create a feeling of being out of control. Increased irritability, fatigue, and generally feeling low is not uncommon. In more extreme cases, this change in emotions can lead to depression.

Difficulty with Concentration

As many as two-thirds of women going through menopause say they have problems with memory or trouble focusing. Another term used for this condition is brain fog. 

Anxiety

As many as one in three women may experience anxiety during menopause.  Anxiety is a normal part of life. For example, you may have felt anxiety before addressing a group or in a job interview. However, anxiety can increase during menopause and if it gets too intense, it can cause an individual to feel lightheaded and nauseous. An excessive or persistent state of anxiety can have a devastating affect on physical and mental health.

Osteoporosis (weak bones)

The menopause can increase risk of developing certain other problems, such as Osteoporosis (weak bones). Whilst not necessarily related to Osteoporosis women can also suffer from joint stiffness, aches and pains. 

Loss of Self-Confidence

Any one or more of menopause symptoms can seriously affect an individuals self-confidence, whether it be a physical or mental/emotional symptom. 

Question

How Menopause Friendly is your Organisation?

Don’t turn your back on your employees who need help and support.

Ask yourself or colleagues the questions below. If you can answer yes to them all then congratulations, your organisation is in the elite 3% of places to work that can be considered menopause friendly. If you answer no to any of these questions then we can help.

Are women going through menopause supported by your organisation?

Do you have a menopause policy or guidance document?

Are your managers trained to manage difficult situations involving menopause? 

Do you know how to get the menopause conversation started? 

Do you have a current menopause awareness campaign?

Are you aware of the negative impact presenteeism has on costs and culture? 

Help & Support

Top Tips for Menopause at Work

We appreciate that managing menopause symptoms can be a challenge for the individual and their employer. We at Menopause 360 offer help and support to both so here are our top tips.    

Top Tips for Employees

1. Be brave! We know opening up to a line manager or HR about your situation can be uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing but try and pluck up the courage. If your organisation is menopause aware and friendly you may be pleasantly surprised by the response.    

2. Don’t suffer in silence. In the past women were meant to just ‘get on with it’ but things are changing. Seek advice, talk to your GP or maybe a menopause specialist.   

3. Self help for symptoms. Small changes to your diet or reducing your alcohol intake could make a difference. One of our services is June’s Menopause Café, where we offer advice, guidance and support – why not make enquiries through your line manager, HR team or occupational health department to see if this could be made available to you and your colleagues.         

4. Understand that your mental health is so important. Many women enter the first stages of menopause and don’t even realise it. In some instances your symptoms can include mood swings, anxiety and in more severe cases depression. 

5. You are not alone. Every woman across the world has been, or will go through the menopause at some point in their lives irrespective of their demographic, cultural background or age.  However, it’s worth remembering that symptoms are unique to each individual.  

6. Keep a diary of your symptoms. This can help your GP or employer to better understand your symptoms when you have a conversation. With  accurate information they will be better placed to help.  

Top Tips for Employers

1. Get the conversation started! We all know menopause is a taboo subject but it doesn’t have to be that way. By bringing it into the open it can only enhance the culture of the organisation and make it more considerate and inclusive.

2.  With an ever growing female workforce it is in the interest of every organisation to attract and retain the best talent. 

3. Ensure all line managers are properly trained and equipped to support their teams. Instead of shying away from those sometimes difficult conversations, they should be confident in managing the issues that may arise.    

4. Be transparent! Take away any misunderstandings that may occur by providing clear documented guidance. This could maybe take the form of the company employee handbook or menopause policy documentation.       

 5. Make sure you reduce any legal risk to the organisation. There have already been tribunals won by employees where their employer hasn’t taken menopausal symptoms into account.  According to a leading law firm  the average cost of defending a tribunal for a discrimination claim is between £6,500.00 to £9,000+ VAT and disbursements. which doesn’t include any awards or claimant’s legal fees, which you need to pay if they win. 

6. Explore the changes or small adjustments that could be made in the working environment to make menopause symptoms easier to manage. Some simple changes could be to reduce the temperature slightly, allow desk fans or maybe, shorter but more frequent breaks.  

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An inclusive culture indicates a climate in which respect, equality, and positive recognition of differences are all cultivated, and the social and institutional response poses no barrier to a positive employment experience.

At Menopause 360 we hope organisations will embrace the opportunity not only to seek business benefit but to engage with their employees and do the right thing. We can help you do this.

Let’s Work Together