In partnership with the Daily Mail, get your voice heard regarding menopause at work!

For International Women's Day on the 8th of March, we're going to shine a spotlight on coping with menopause whilst at work. We've partnered with the Daily Mail to write a article on this important issue and we want you to contribute by telling us about your experience! Please note your views can be completely anonymous if you prefer.

Maybe you'd like to share how the menopause has affected you at work, or maybe you'd rather tell us about how the workplace has affected your menopause symptoms! What do you wish others had known about the menopause and how did you feel about addressing the menopause at work?

Whatever you'd like to share, please leave your comments below and let us know the real effect of menopause at work!

Comments

  • cosiecosie Posts: 27 ✭✭

    I find it really hard to concentrate. So much so that I end up working into the evenings to get done what I needed to in a day.

  • Julie20Julie20 Posts: 197 mod

    Luckily I work with mostly middle age women so some are going through it like I am. It really annoys me when the younger ones say "I can't wait to go through menopause so my periods stop" they just don't realise what's coming. I work in a hospital so it's constantly hot. I have 2 fans on my desk which are on from the time I arrive to the time I leave. I am struggling with the memory though. I now find I have to write every single thing down as once the conversation is over it's left my brain already and if someone asks me about something that happened the day before I'm absolutely useless. The only good thing is that I've been there over 7 years so I know my job inside out as if I had to learn anything new now I would be useless.

  • KazKaz Posts: 482 mod

    We've been talking about this very thing elsewhere in the forum. Luckily I now get to work from home, but I remember the days in the office when I'd go from normal to looking as if I'd just stepped out of the shower, three or four times every day. There was a constant fight with the heating controls with most of the office staff preferring sub tropical temperatures, and I ended up with fans on my desk all seasons of the year, cooling sprays at the ready, and even changes of clothes for the worst days. I made a joke of it, but the reality was far from funny. I always felt it was my problem though, and it isn't something I even thought to speak to HR about. Ridiculous now when I think about it!

    This question was asked by one of our ladies on the forum

    "As an employer, do they have to accommodate or should I say, make allowances for you as an employee? Where do you stand with employment law? "

    My response was as follows.

    I think there are lots of changes that need to be made, and all of them involve communication. We, as women, need to talk about what’s happening to us. Employers need to listen. We are working far longer than we ever did, and a lot of women probably have menopausal symptoms for a while before they even realise what’s going on. Everyone, women included, need to have more information available to them to enable conversations to happen. GP’s need better training - the people we go to for help need to have a better understanding of the concerns we have and not immediately think mental health issues. Employers need to be more proactive when it comes to dealing with women who want to continue working effectively with the menopause. The symptoms of menopause are often unrecognised, undervalued and just not taken seriously, and given that some women can have symptoms for ten years plus, things need to be put in place to make our working lives easier. I’m not sure that employment law has caught up yet! 


    In the workplace, at-home, with our families, friends and workmates, wherever we are, we need to make conversations about the menopause and its effects completely normal and natural rather than a subject to be avoided.

  • LindseyLindsey Posts: 1

    I found it all very difficult. I had an huge job with a big company and worked very hard. When the menopause hit i found it hard to sit in meetings, could feel sweat dripping down my back and so found it really hard to concentrate. I also began to yawn a lot, especially when in the small meeting rooms, which didn't go down too well. Working at my desk wasn't so bad as i had a clip on electric fan which was a lifesaver. I always kept a Spanish fan in my handbag and just didn't care where i pulled it out. The embarrassment of sweating perfidiously at work or on train and out socially was for me the worst part of menopause. Luckily, after 9 years I'm over it and come out the other end better than ever.

  • KarenanneKarenanne Posts: 1

    The menopause made me hot, sweaty and anxious and i couldn't concentrate at work. I tried my best to keep up but ended up losing my job. I think, as a country, we need to understand the effects menopause has on women and learn how we can make things better not only at work but also at home.

  • Bubbles67Bubbles67 Posts: 3

    Although I am now retired, I can still remember the sheer ignorance of my workplace whilst suffering the menopause. Just to mention, I am still going through this, some 20 years on. My managers thought it was funny to enhance the situation, therefore embarrassing me. My times of having my "hot flushes" were horrendous, attending meetings became terrifying. I became so self conscious that my whole being felt worthless. I could go on, but yes, things need to change, employers need to be made aware, GPs need to be re-educated so that when a patient comes to see them regarding this matter, they are not offered anti-depressants. I am not working now, but my flushes still continue, and yes, I have been offered ant-depressants, which I refused. But at least now, I do not have others around me who find it funny.

  • wimborne02wimborne02 Posts: 1

    Hi, my Menopause kicked in 13 years ago. I still have flushes, during the day & at night they wake me up between 2 & 8 times a night, I haven't had a full night's sleep in 13 years. Because I have worked for the same company for the last 20 years they are very used to my flushes, they know when I go bright red & hastily switch my electric desk fan to leave me be till the flush passes. I think the most annoying side effect of this is that I sweat around my hair line profusely & as a result my hair frizzes up. Aside from the flushes I also suffer from tiredness, could literally fall asleep at my desk sometimes. All in all getting old & having the menopause is no bed of roses.😥

  • wattoo1971wattoo1971 Posts: 18

    Hi, I am 47 years old and have been perimenopausal for the last 4 years. I only associated the hot flushes with it. I had been to the doctors but due to my age, they would not prescribe HRT, just herbal remedies and a change of diet. I reached my limit on the 30th January. I mentally and physically hit a brick wall. I left work that day in tears. Went straight to my doctors begging for help. It was a male doctor who suggested th coil and patch but that it could take 2-3 months to get this sorted. I snapped, I told him I wouldn't be here, I meant it. I could no longer live with the overwhelming low mood, bone weary fatigue, brain fog to the point I could no longer remember my pin code. My anxiety was at an all time high and I could not do my work to the best of my ability. For someone who has pride herself in doing the best I could, I found this was the hardest thing to deal with. I could see where I was making mistakes and when these were picked up by others, my confidence just kept going lower and lower. My doctors have been amazing and have gotten me the help I so desperately needed far sooner. It's only when i took a step back from work to heal and did some reading about the menopause that I realised how many different symptoms I had suffered over the last 4 years. Bouts of dizziness where I was referred to a specialist who found nothing (of course). My joints and my shins have been so painful and again I have been to the doctors for help. I have some rhuematoid arthritis so I put it all down to that. The day after I had th coil fitted, my shins stopped hurting. I started getting electric shocks from other people and my dog, poor thing. I can't remember the last time I wanted sex, never mind had the energy to do it. My breasts have felt like I was breast feeding, periods of very itchy skin everywhere, dry mouth and other areas oh and bleeding gums, the sink has resembled the aftermath of the Texas chainsaw massacre. I have worked through this and had bouts of illness, this is the first time that I f it I needed to have an extended period of time off. My hot flushes were the norm at work and I would just laugh them off, but to be honest I don't want to laugh anymore. I hope that returns soon.

  • Julie20Julie20 Posts: 197 mod

    Hi Wattoo1971

    I'm so sorry you feel this way and that you have had to go through so much before you were heard. Dr's definitely need further training in the menopause, your symptoms should have been taken seriously in the first place, women of any age can go through menopause so I don't understand why Dr's just write it off so easily. I'm glad you finally have been given some support in this but if you find that the patches aren't enough then you must go back and ask to be out on HRT tablets, it also sounds like you could do with an antidepressant to lighten your mood slightly. the menopause is no fun at the best of times but with the help and support from professionals the journey can be made easier.

    Don't give up. keep fighting for what you need, if you cant get support from that GP then maybe try and make an appointment with a different one. good luck :)

  • LellyMLellyM Posts: 5

    Hi,

    I work in a mainly male environment (engineering) so I expected it to be difficult. But quite the opposite. As many of my male colleagues are of a similar age and have wives/partners they are quite supportive. If I have a hot flush, I just stick the fan on and if anyone comments I just say "come on, women of a certain age.....". I have found the brain fuzz particularly annoying as I used to be the person who could keep every detail of every project in my mind and recall it when questioned. Now I have to write everything down or it just vanishes in a haze of meno-brain.

    So that is me!

    L

  • I am very fortunate in that I manage a charity shop, staffed by volunteers, mainly female and mainly older than me, so they are extremely understanding of the menopause. However, I am very aware that the brain fog, exhaustion and anxiety would have been seriously difficult to deal with in my previous job, which was dealing with complaints by the public in very difficult circumstances. Aside from the brutal hot flushes and sweating, there is simply no way I could maintain that level of attention and quick thinking now, it’s simply impossible as I struggle stringing a sentence together quite often these days, having been very quick and articulate in my previous job. I expect my previous colleagues would have been kind, but it was a fast moving, high pressured job and it was expected that everyone simply battled on. I’m very glad that I don’t have that level of stress and demand on my brain now as I simply wouldn’t be able to do it. Menopause is grim. I was one of those naive women who said “Ooh great, no more periods!” Huh. I’d swap all this discomfort and misery for my periods any day of the week!! I’ve just started a plan of alternative therapies and am keeping my fingers crossed that they offer some relief.

  • KazKaz Posts: 482 mod

    I know exactly what you mean! It’s hard to imagine that I thought I was miserable because my periods lasted three weeks out of four. The menopause and all it’s symptoms are grim. That’s a perfect description! GRIM! I recently started HRT and I am getting some relief now, and I hope you have success with the alternative therapies you are trying 😊

  • Julie20Julie20 Posts: 197 mod

    Hi Blowinghotandcold40s

    I also work with a few people that say "you have it easy now, I cant wait to be in menopause and not have periods" I want to scream at them "you don't know what's coming" but I just laugh and tell them.. watch and wait.... its so hard to try and concentrate and carry on a normal day when everything about menopause is wrong.

    Women are definitely the stronger sex :)

  • hessomhessom Posts: 113 Community Admin

    Hey everyone! Our team wanted to draw attention to the important impact menopause can have and, as promised, worked with the Daily Mail to feature an article about menopause's impact on our Community members at work! You can read the full article here!

    Let us know your thoughts!

  • KazKaz Posts: 482 mod
    edited March 8

    Hi Hessom,

    Well done to everyone involved.

    I think it's a fair representation of how things are in the workplace for lots of menopausal women. I read it this morning, and I'm interested, and delighted looking at it again, to see how many women have commented on the article on the Daily Mail website. (I hope they now follow the links to the forum too)

    It's encouraging to see that women are definitely more ready to speak openly about the menopause, and articles like this, along with the work being done on the forum, is making a huge difference to women dealing with difficult symptoms. 😊

  • busybee1965busybee1965 Posts: 1


    I never linked the coil to the electric shocks I get from my car door, fireplace and many things at work. Thank you for giving me sanity on that score, I've been blaming my Ugg boots and anything with nylon in that now lights up the room when I remove it!!

    I work a rota that involves nights and they've become incredibly difficult for me. I get brain fog, hot flushes and headaches at the best of times so when these are exacerbated by working nights I end up in a right pickle. I was expected to work a Tuesday night recently with my shift finishing at 8.30am. I live an hour from work in rush hour traffic so wasn't in bed until around 1030am. I was then expected to turn myself around and return to work for an 8am start on Thursday. I didn't know whether to stay awake and try and correct my bodyclock or nap until lunchtime and go to bed at the normal time.

    The following morning I had about half a dozen near misses driving into work, including one on the motorway. I was glad I was to be working in my least favourite department because it meant that I was going to be able to work in a team instead of alone as I knew I wouldn't be safe working alone. I explained this to my superiors saying I felt extremely emotional and so tired I felt drunk.

    Surprisingly they still want me to work nights and I'm going to have to put my foot down very firmly to get the sleep day post nights off plus another day to allow me to recover. Occupational Health are my next port of call for help.

  • KazKaz Posts: 482 mod

    Welcome busybee1965

    Reading this just makes me feel so cross on your behalf. It's frustrating that you've actively asked for help, and yet you're still not being listened to. It's as if nothing will be done unless or until there's a catastrophe, probably to your further detriment. Night shifts are hard enough to deal with, without adding in menopause symptoms.

    I don't know if you're in a job that has a union element that could help? Otherwise, as you've said, Occupational Health and HR are the next people to speak to.

    I find it frustrating that as women, we are trying to bring the menopause out into the open so that we can all get the help we need. It's not that we don't want to work - we just need some small adjustments in the workplace, and to our working patterns so that we can continue to work effectively whatever stage of life we're at.

    I really hope you can find a solution, before you wear yourself out!

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