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Menopause in the Workplace

 

For women, managing menopause symptoms at home can include accessing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), talking to family and friends and making their own adjustments to things such as clothing and living area in attempts to navigate their symptoms. But what happens in the workplace?

Those experiencing menopause can struggle with hot flushes, mood swings, anxiety, brain fog, tiredness, poor sleep, incontinence and more. To experience these things in a work environment can make it very stressful, uncomfortable, and many may feel embarrassed as currently, there’s a lot of stigma and a lack of understanding surrounding menopause. Many women may even feel as though they can’t work due to the severity of their symptoms because there’s no help in the workplace, and this has to change.

Not only do women experience a loss of self during menopause, but if they feel as though they can’t work and are losing that aspect of their life, it can be even more tough. It’s important that women feel as though they can continue to contribute economically and that their life doesn’t have to stop because of something normal and inevitable. They should be as comfortable as they can be at work and have acknowledgement and support when navigating and experiencing something so physically and mentally challenging.

UKIM’s Lead Occupational Health Advisor, Laura Sharp, shares why and how occupational health can help:

  • A change to work uniform - a more breathable material, desk fans, desk moved to near air conditioning to manage hot flushes.
  • Adjusted start times to manage fatigue and insomnia - mornings may feel more difficult after lack of sleep.
  • Extra time to complete work assignments - brain fog may cause cognitive issues and memory loss.
  • Ensuring quick toilet access and understanding if incontinence is causing an issue - no question policy if an individual needs to get changed or step out of a meeting unexpectedly. 
  • Mood swings can cause difficulty at work as this may spill over to work colleagues and managers - conversations about acceptable behaviour but also understanding uncontrollable loss of temper.
  • Workload and overwhelm - not feeling able to do things as quickly as they previously could. 
  • Loss of confidence - one to one meeting with managers to discuss the positives.

It’s also important that there’s open conversations and forums surrounding menopause, as that can offer emotional support and make people more comfortable talking about it; this is often the first positive step towards accessing the correct support.

 

Laura is Lead Occupational Health Advisor at UKIM Occupational Health & Wellbeing.

As a Menopause Champion, Laura is committed to giving women the confidence to stay in work despite their symptoms and encouraging managers to work with them to succeed.

You can find out more about Laura's work here ››

 

Learn more about the support we can offer businesses like yours.

You can find out more details by clicking here ››

Alternatively, for more information on how we can support your business, please call 0191 512 8220, e-mail wellbeing@ukim-oh.com, or complete the form on this page - our specialist team will be in touch to help with your query.


Are you an employee?

If you have any health conditions or concerns that you are worried may impact your performance at work, we would encourage you to discuss them with your employer in a transparent and open manner. They may be able to provide support or a referral to our Occupational Health services (like Physiotherapy or Counselling) to help you manage your health at work.

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