Today at a work away day, myself and other fellow managers attended a session on the subject of the Menopause!
Of all the subjects you would expect to be on the agenda, that certainly wasn’t one of them! It was quite funny seeing some of the men around the rooms expression, when they first saw it!
Being a women who was pre-menopausal from 45, and is now post menopausal, I was quite interested!
What was even more interesting, was the reaction of other ladies in the room! There were those of us in the room who absolutely could tell a few stories, in particular about the hot flushes, and those too young, but who were a little unsure or even nervous about it!
My husband is a manager for the same company, so for me it was a great opportunity to get him to fully understand why I need that fan on at night!
So who will suffer from the menopause?
The simple answer is any women! Women from the age of 45-55 will start to experience the menopause. The average age is about 51, but 1 in 100 women will get it before they reach 40.
The menopause is caused by a reduction of oestrogen in the body, and is a natural form of ageing! Things such as cancer, radiation or chemotherapy, and hysterectomies can bring the symptoms on early.
You may have heard of women being ‘on the change’ in times gone by? I suppose we are, as our bodies are changing!
This is the first stage! Its also known as perimenopausal, and is when the body starts producing less eostrogen.
You are classed as post menopausal, if you haven’t had a period for 12 months. This includes spotting, however light that may be!
So what are the symptoms?
Every women’s symptoms will vary, but below is a list of what you could expect:
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Loss of memory
- Heavy periods
- Hot flushes
- Vaginal dryness
- Low Mood
Symptoms can start months or even years before periods stop, and can last for 4-8 years. Although it can last many years longer! I have friends who have had hot flushes for well over 10 years!
Every women will have different degrees of symptoms. Some of them so extreme, it will impact on their day to day life.
What can you do to help relieve the symptoms?
This will vary, depending on the severity and type of symptom!
For me, it has been the night sweats and hot flushes. I need to sleep with the fan on! I’ve even been known to stand outside naked in the snow to cool off! Don’t worry I had no neighbours then!
I also wear layers, so I can strip off more easily!
Memory loss has also been a bit of a problem, but that has been in short spurts! At one time, I thought I was having the start of dementia! I now make sure I put everything in my diary. I make lists and keep notes of important things. Now I have learned to recognise what it is, I’m more relaxed.
I think its important to understand that every women will go through, in some shape or form the same as you, so don’t be afraid to laugh it off, or talk about it!
A good diet and exercise will also help you, but if you are struggling, don’t be afraid to discuss the symptoms with your doctor. They may be able to prescribe HRT or offer other support. Unfortunately, as I had breast cancer when I was 42, I am not able to have HRT, as it is believed to increase my chances of getting it again. Don’t let that put you off talking to your doctor. Everyone’s symptoms are different. They will be able to give you lots of advice and tips.
I have even see recipes to help with symptoms. I’ve never tried them myself, but I do know someone who has and felt that they worked for her.
So why did we have a session on it today at work?
It’s probably not what you would expect on an agenda, but I have to say, I was so pleased it was. I don’t think I heard anyone (and there were over 100 managers there today) walk out of the session, with anything but praise for it.
It’s important in the work place for managers to recognise and support staff who may be going through the menopause! If they are not confident to raise it with them, at least know who else could.
You could be a really solid member of staff, but if you are struggling to sleep due to night sweats, your concentration dips, or you are having any of the other symptoms, it could impact on your performance. By dealing with it openly, reasonable adjustments can be made.
I hadn’t thought about it until today, but most women hit the menopause at the same time as they are at the peak of their careers. When you have worked so hard to achieve success, it would be a shame to think, it would be impacted by something brought on by mother nature.
So if you know a women who is being different to normal, think about why that might be? Talk to them and offer them support! They will really thank you for it!