Managing Menopause In Workplace

Table of Contents

Menopause is a natural process marking the end of a woman’s reproductive years, typically between the ages of 45 and 55. For many women, it is a challenging period marked by various symptoms that can impact their personal and professional lives. Managing menopause can be particularly challenging at work, where women often have to juggle multiple responsibilities, deadlines, and expectations. We will explore tips for managing menopause at work and maintaining productivity, well-being, and career success.

– Educate Yourself
The first step in managing menopause at work is to educate yourself about the symptoms and changes you may experience. Common symptoms include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. By learning about these symptoms and their causes, you can anticipate and prepare for them. You may also find it helpful to talk to other women who have gone through menopause or consult a healthcare provider for advice.

– Communicate with Your Employer
Menopause is a natural aging process that women should not be ashamed of. You should feel comfortable discussing your symptoms with your employer and colleagues. This action can help them understand any changes in your behavior or work performance and may also lead to accommodations that can make your work environment more comfortable. For example, if you are experiencing hot flashes, you may need to adjust the temperature in your workspace or take more frequent breaks to cool down.

– Prioritize Self-Care
Self-care is essential for managing menopause at work, and taking care of yourself can help alleviate symptoms and improve your overall well-being. Some self-care practices you may want to consider include regular exercise, healthy eating, stress reduction techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and getting enough sleep. You may also want to consider taking supplements or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

– Plan Your Day
Menopause symptoms can be unpredictable and disruptive, making it difficult to plan your day. However, taking the time to plan your day can help you stay focused and productive. This task can include setting priorities, creating a to-do list, and scheduling daily breaks. If you are experiencing fatigue or brain fog, you may want to schedule your most challenging tasks during peak energy times and save simpler tasks for later.

– Seek Support
Managing menopause can be challenging, and it is essential to have a support system in place. This support can include friends, family, and colleagues who can offer encouragement, advice, or simply a listening ear. You may also want to consider joining a menopause support group or seeking counseling to help you manage any emotional or mental health challenges.

In summary, menopause is a natural and normal part of a woman’s life, and managing it at work can be challenging. However, by educating yourself, communicating with your employer, prioritizing self-care, planning your day, and seeking support, you can successfully navigate this transition and continue to thrive in your career. Be kind to yourself and take the time to prioritize your well-being.

Here we discuss with menopause expert Tina Holloway, who share how women can thrive in the workplace during menopause.

What Menopausal Issues Do Women Face At Work?

NourishDoc: Hello, everyone. Well, This month is women’s breast cancer awareness month. But this today is World Menopause Day. So we have brought a menopause well-being ambassador today to talk about all the issues women go through at work if they are hitting menopause and menopause and beyond. Tina joins us from the UK, and she runs her community. Let’s Talk Menopause. Thank you so much, Tina. 

Menopause Expert Tina: Hi, thank you so much, Amita. Hi, everyone. I’m excited to be here today. It’s such a big day for women going through menopause. October is Menopause Awareness Month. You’ve probably seen loads of activities online and news talks about menopause over the last 12 months, certainly in the UK. It’s quite staggering. It’s estimated that around 1 billion women worldwide will be experiencing menopause by twenty twenty-five.

And actually, the women experiencing menopause transition are one of the largest and fastest-growing economic groups in the worldwide demographic. This also coincides with the age bracket during which women are most likely to move into top leadership positions. Of course, women who go through menopause at some stage in their working life will go through symptoms that may impact them at work.

One of the things that we will be discussing today is how menopause can impact you at work. We do have a few stages of menopause. I’ll briefly talk about that in case anyone’s interested. So the stage of menopause that’s the most symptomatic is the perimenopause stage. Generally, you’re in your 40s when you start that and can go through into your 50s. The reason it’s so symptomatic is that your hormone levels fluctuate drastically, and your estrogen levels can drop from one day to the next, significantly impacting how you’re feeling day to day.

As you lead into menopause and menopause means when your periods stop, menopause is 12 months without a period, and that’s when you’re deemed to be reaching menopause; you can still be experiencing symptomatic symptoms at that point. Unfortunately, it can last for a few years. I know some people that are in their sixties that are still suffering from menopausal symptoms.

So this is a massive, massive topic of conversation in the workplace. Many corporates now have to implement well-being programs to support women in the workplace going through menopause. It’s not a surprise because of the symptoms you can experience and how that can impact your day-to-day working lives. 

How Hot Flashes Can Be Managed At Work?

NourishDoc: So I want to discuss it a bit deeper. You know the statistics of women going through Peri-Menopause worldwide are staggering. Almost 20% or more; I’m just citing the statistics I would have read online, which are working. You’re sitting in a conference, and suddenly that hot flashes and sweats you start sweating, and then how do you cope with these kinds of situations because most of the people, even in, you know, at the workplace, don’t understand necessarily why you started kind of going a little bit out of control a little bit from there angle, not from our angle. 

Menopause Expert Tina: I’ve spoken to lots of women who, you know, senior leaders in organizations that are, you know, presenting on stage in large conferences, and suddenly you know, one example where the senior leader had to present and half an hour before she was due to present on stage you know she went into a hot flush.

She ended up having to get someone to go to the hotel to get a change of clothes because it was that bad, you know, having to with those sorts of things in the workplace and not being able to explain to your colleagues what’s going on is really can be quite traumatic actually. It’s not just those hot flushes; it’s things like having it suddenly had a flood because, as you know, your periods are very erratic. Suddenly you can end up not expecting a period, and suddenly, you’re caught out without anything and have a flood.

Also, things like you know your brain health and your brain function is a massive symptoms. Loads of women spoken to suffer from brain fog. I’ve suffered with it myself. Forgetting things. So again, if you can, think about being in the middle of a meeting. Maybe your manager is running a meeting, and you’re online, and suddenly, you forget what you’re supposed to be saying. What you’re supposed to be talking about or you suffer with, you know the brain fog is so bad you can’t even sometimes talk about what you’re going to be saying.

It can have a massive effect on your confidence, knocking your confidence and just silly things like getting anxious and finding that you can’t drive. You know you don’t like driving to new places anymore. Suppose you’re in a job where you must drive to new places or meet new people. You get anxiety, which can also be a massive symptom that can be problematic in your workplace. So, I think the main thing about all this is that we can all deal with our symptoms.

We find ways around them, but it’s having to deal with them with our colleagues and making sure our colleagues understand what’s going on and get that conversation started so that people know that you are, you know you are having symptoms. It’s nothing particularly to worry about, but you know it may sometimes cause you to forget things. You know you need to leave a meeting room because you’re having a hot flush and not frightened to talk about it to your colleagues. Hence, they know what’s going on. 

Education About Menopause Symptoms Is Key

NourishDoc: So, it’s not just the women going through perimenopausal work but your colleagues; everyone has to be educated. Everyone’s educated about pregnant women where they are walking, or you know they know what the pregnant woman has to is going through, so everyone is considered the same way education has to happen across the board in the corporate world all over the world for that matter that if someone is going through that they might experience. You know some symptoms that are not normal, right? 

Menopause Expert Tina: Exactly, and I think that education is key to men as well because I’ve held quite a few Let’s Talk Menopause sessions, and we’ve had a few men come onto those sessions, and actually, they’re there to educate themselves for their colleagues, for the people in their team, for their wives, or their sisters, or their mothers, you know, people that they are close to, that they’ve seen going through the menopause and they haven’t quite understood what’s going on, because most women don’t like to talk about it to men and they’ve come along to my sessions to find out what’s going on, and it’s been a massive, like an eye-opener to them, to know that wow, this is why, you know, this is why my colleague is experiencing this, or.

Educating our men is just as important, and you know, as we know, it can also affect relationships. The more we can get the conversation out there, the more people feel comfortable discussing this topic. And I think even though you’ve hit the nail right on the head, pregnancy is always talked about openly. We celebrate when women go through puberty and start their first period. It’s not something to be ashamed of, and we celebrate pregnancy.

There’s loads of support out there for pregnant women, but when we get to menopause, it’s something that’s just not talked about. It’s a taboo subject, a natural stage of a woman’s journey. It’s a natural stage of their life. And people should start feeling more comfortable to be able to have that conversation. 

How Menopausal Issues Affect Relationships?

NourishDoc: You mentioned the relationships and how menopause could affect your relationship with your partner. Of course, at work, we know that a lot of, you know, education has to happen. Do you want to comment on the relationships and women you have talked to? 

Menopause Expert Tina: I think one of the biggest factors that can happen with menopause is things that can affect your relationship, such as lack of libido, suddenly your libido can, you know, your sexual hormones fall through the floor and is no more you know going round your body and libido can die, and that has a massive impact on on the intimacy in an in a relationship and men don’t understand that you know, may, they may feel there’s something wrong with me, you know, she doesn’t like me anymore, she doesn’t find me attractive, and again, you know, making them aware that that’s not anything to do with them.

It’s just like in the, you know, the the the woman’s going through, and it’s affecting their whole sense of themselves, and also just swings. You know, one minute we can be irritable, one minute we can be happy, one minute can be sad, and I think, you know, again, it’s quite interesting, when I had a conversation with my teenage daughter, who’s the other end of the spectrum, and her hormones, you know, going up and down, we, we quite often laugh and go, oh my god, we’re feeling the same way and yet, it’s, you know, it’s like 40 odd years between us, and, I think, so I think really, you know. Again, if you’re open in your household, you’ve got men; if you’re open to having that conversation and educating, you and your sons as well.

It’s only going to help everyone, all the women in the future if we can be more open about these topics. But yes, it can have a massive impact on relationships. I also think, you know, if we think about the stage of the life we’re going through, at that point, we have quite a lot on our shoulders as women. We may be looking after elderly parents; we probably have a family that we’re also looking after. We probably have got a full-time job.

We’re juggling lots and lots of things that we normally can cope with. Then suddenly, the menopause hits and kind of like throws us a bit off the kilt because then we’ve got to deal with that as well. So I think the timing of all of this contributes to many factors in terms of our mental health and well-being. 

How Diet & Exercise Can Prevent Menopausal Symptoms?

NourishDoc: And I know both of us are not healthcare professionals, but there are a lot of other things that women can do like breathing techniques, you know, like some of the yoga, some of the diets. Do you have any? Do you want to comment on how the diet and some other things can help women cope with all these symptoms we are talking about? 

Menopause Expert Tina: I mean, the most known solution is HRT. Unfortunately, not everyone can take HRT. I can’t take HRT. I had breast cancer last year. So, my HRT journey was very short, and of course, if you can’t take HRT, no one solution will help you with all your symptoms. It’s a case of trying different things.

The things we do know help which we know are good for us anyway as women drinking plenty of water, lots of exercise, definitely meditation, yoga, Pilates, things that can de-stress us because stress also is a massive contributor to how we feel in terms of our symptoms as well, nutrition a diet is key, making sure you eat the right thing, certain foods have natural estrogen in them.

So looking up those sorts of foods and eating those can also help boost your hormones, not drinking as much alcohol, cutting down on that glass of wine at night, and not smoking. The things we already know we should be doing are incredibly important as we get to this stage. Even before we get to this stage in our 40s, we should be looking at that and how we know what our lifestyle’s like and how we can tweak a few things and make those adjustments. 

NourishDoc: Absolutely, and that’s what I wanted to emphasize that you know, we women, as we start threading towards the 40s and beyond, we need to modify our lifestyle accordingly so that, you know, we can have better management of our, on the symptoms that, that’s going to hit us, right? Anything else?

This is a quick ten-minute session that we bring daily, educating women on topics that concern them when they hit 40 and beyond. We wanted to bring someone like you. Is there anything else you’d like to add or talk to or tell women about how to empower themselves? That’s the key here to women’s empowerment in a different way. But this is also empowerment. 

Menopause Expert Tina: My biggest tip would be to educate yourself. There are lots of resources out there on menopause. If you haven’t had a conversation with your doctor and you’re thinking about going to your doctor to talk about HRT, for example, make sure you go to the doctor armored with as much information as you can because not all of them really understand the menopause at the moment unfortunately and maybe keep a diary, keep a diary of your symptoms before you go to the doctor.

So you can show them what’s happening because symptoms can often be other things. They, you know, the symptoms you’re having may not be menopausal. I want to say that first of all. Always get yourself checked out if you’re experiencing something unusual, and what a doctor will probably do is look at how many symptoms you have. If you’ve got several symptoms of that menopause, I think 37 symptoms of whatever it is now.

Then they’ll look at that and say, ” Okay, maybe it’s menopause. Keeping that of your symptoms is important so you can go to the doctor armed with as much information as possible to help them come to a uniform decision on what’s going on with you and your health. Don’t be frightened to talk about it. Make sure you have that conversation at home. Make sure you have that conversation in the workplace, and anything I can do to help at any point, please, please reach out. 

What Can Be Done If Women Hit Menopause At An Early Age?

NourishDoc: I just wanted to add that I read an article yesterday that many women in their late 30s haven’t even hit forty yet. However, they are getting symptoms of perimenopause, right? and that’s concerning and disturbing if someone is trying to have started a family. Suddenly they are now being hit with perimenopause symptoms. Do you have any comment on this kind of scenario? 

Menopause Expert Tina: I’ve spoken to women that are in early menopause before they’re thirty and hit 30, and incredibly traumatic for them because, generally, it means that they are unable to start a family as well. So that’s a whole load of other issues they have to deal with, and also, you can be thrown straight into menopause through surgical procedures.

So you could have a surgical procedure or treatment that throws you straight into the cause, and you could be quite young at that point as well. So other reasons will throw you into menopause, not just the natural cycle. So it is a big topic. It affects so many people worldwide, and that’s why we need to talk about it more. 

NourishDoc: Okay, well, thank you so much. Today, we discuss bringing awareness and empowerment to women hitting this beautiful stage. I want to say that and continue to educate. We’re going to be launching these programs specifically for women over forty. That’s what our mission is, and our passion is to be, you know, educating these women and empowering them. So, stay tuned. Any last words for you before I wrap up today’s session? Are you welcome to share your Insta or any other social handles? 

Menopause Expert Tina: Thank you. Now, we are amazing. Us women are amazing. Feel proud of being a woman and take the menopause by the horns; give it a big old, old shake, and you’ll get through the other side. 

NourishDoc: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Tina, and to all the women out there. Enjoy this day and celebrate. 


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