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