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World Menopause Day 18th October 2021

October is World Menopause Month,

18th October 2021 being World Menopause Day

This is an annual campaign to raise awareness around the menopause, World Menopause Month is an chance for men, women, healthcare professionals and media to work together to raise awareness around the realities of female health, while combating stigma and misinformation.

At mirus, we want to support our employees however we can, and we are using the campaign to raise awareness about a women’s experience of the menopause in the workplace.

We want to involve staff who have an interest in this area to help us shape our menopause policy.

 

What is the menopause?

It’s a natural stage of life when a woman’s estrogen levels decline and she stops having periods. As menopausal symptoms are typically experienced for several years, it is best described as a ‘transition’ rather than a one-off event.

 

When does it happen?

The menopause typically happens between age 45 and 55. ‘Perimenopause’ is the phase leading up to the menopause, when a woman’s hormone balance starts to change.

For some women this can start as early as their twenties or as late as their late forties.

51 is the average age for a woman to go through the menopause in the UK, but around 1 in 100 experience it before the age of 40. This is referred to as ‘premature menopause’.

There is no clear cause for the early onset of menopause, but it can also be a result of surgery (for example hysterectomy, oophorectomy), illness or treatment (such as chemotherapy).

 

What are the symptoms?

The menopause can cause a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms that can last for many years.

Symptoms can fluctuate and be felt to varying degrees, every woman is different.
These include:-

  • Psychological issues such as mood disturbances, anxiety and/or depression, memory loss, panic attacks, loss of confidence and reduced concentration
  • Hot flushes (brief and sudden surges of heat usually felt in the face, neck and chest)
  • Sleep disturbance that can make people feel tired and irritable
  • Irregular periods and/or periods can become light or heavy• muscle and joint stiffness, aches and pains
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced sex drive

Experiencing any of the typical symptoms can pose a challenge for women as they go about their daily lives, including at work.

 

Menopause at work

 

Managing the impact of the menopause at work is important for both workers and employers.

For the worker experiencing symptoms:

  • can make it a difficult and stressful time,
  • it is a very sensitive and personal matter that they are not sure how and when to discuss.

For their employer:

  • it is a health and wellbeing concern,
  • a matter needing careful handling and sufficient time. It has a impact on the woman’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Why many workers do not reveal their menopause symptoms – Why?

 

Currently, many workers do not disclose their menopausal symptoms at work. In addition, many who take time off work because of the menopause do not tell their employer the real reasons for their absence.

For example, this can be because the worker feels:

  • their symptoms are a private and/or personal matter,
  • their symptoms might be embarrassing for them and/or the person they would be confiding in,
  • they do not know their line manager well enough,
  • wary because their line manager is a man, or younger or unsympathetic.

Other worries include that:

  • their symptoms will not be taken seriously,
  • if they do talk, their symptoms will become widely known at work,
  • they will be thought to be less capable,
  • their job security and/or chances of promotion will be harmed.

Supporting our employees however we can is important, and we want staff to be a part of shaping how we can do this best in the future.

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