What is the menopause?
The menopause is when menstruation stops and women are no longer able to get pregnant naturally. This is a natural part of aging in a woman’s life as their oestrogen levels start to decrease and they no longer release an egg each month.
When does the menopause occur?
Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, with the UK average age at 51. However, around 1 in 100 women will transition into the menopause before 40 years old.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Many women will experience menopausal symptoms and whilst many women report that they are only uncomfortable, it is important to note that for some women these can be quite sever and significantly impact on their everyday lives/activities.
Symptoms may last for approximately 4+ years after a women’s last period. They include:
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
- Difficulty sleeping
- Low mood or anxiety
- Reduced sex drive (libido)
- Problems with memory and concentration
Please click on the above links to find out more about these common menopausal symptoms.
What are the treatments for menopausal symptoms?
If you are concerned about your symptoms or you are experiencing menopausal symptoms before the age of 45 you should consider speaking to the GP.
GPs can offer various treatments and suggestions to help alleviate menopausal symptoms. These may include:
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Vaginal oestrogen creams, lubricants or moisturisers for vaginal dryness
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly
To read more about treatments for symptoms of the menopause, please visit the NHS webpages.
How to manage the menopause at work
Employees who are experiencing the menopause may need additional support and consideration from line managers. Managers should be aware of how the menopause can affect work and what adjustments may be required to support those experiencing the menopause.
As part of this, managers should ensure that the working environment is not making menopausal symptoms worse, for example:
- Make sure workload and work pressures are manageable
- Maintain temperature and ventilation of the work environment at an appropriate level
- Ensure there is good access to toilet facilities and cold water
Other ways to manage menopausal symptoms may be taking regular breaks or considering options to work flexibly; if this can be facilitated within the department’s business needs.
Where additional support, adjustments or specialist advice are required, managers should first speak to their departmental HR Teams who will then arrange a referral to Occupational Health if appropriate.
For further information about menopause please visit the following websites;