Menopause awareness workshop at the British Heart Foundation
Laura Drury was invited to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to deliver a menopause in the workplace awareness workshop for their quarterly wellbeing champions meeting.
Menopause is often a taboo subject. This, despite the fact that, according to the parliamentary briefing paper Women and the Economy, the female employment rate is 70.8%. That’s a lot of ladies and guess what, they’re all going to go through it.
For some the menopause will be plain sailing with virtually no symptoms. For others, less fortunate, symptoms can be debilitating. Symptoms range from hot flushes to migraine, brain fog, anxiety, memory loss, osteoporosis, thinning hair, incontinence and itchy skin. These symptoms can have a considerable negative impact on wellbeing.
One in ten women (that we know of) leave employment due to their experience of the menopause. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we start to educate everyone more, set up support mechanisms, communicate with one another and add a little humour to aease any embarrassment around the subject, women can continue working through it. Not only that, but they can also work effectively and productively. We just need to debunk the myths, help one another and normalise it.
Which is exactly what the group at BHF did. After going through the symptoms (aided by lots of humour and laughter) they discussed various treatments, from HRT to alternative remedies. Then participants considered what they could do from within the organisation to help others.
Whilst the average age for menopause in the UK is 51, some women experience it in the early forties. Some even younger. The best way to prepare is to understand, but if you suspect you are perimenopausal here are a few suggestions:
- Find a specialist – not all doctors are experts in menopause. Every individual’s experience will be different and therefore will require unique support. There are plenty of professionals who are trained in this area. Dr Louise Newson has released a ‘concise manual’ on the menopause that may help.
- Seek support from those around you – you are not alone. Menopausal symptoms may feel embarrassing, but they are normal and there are many others going through them. Until people understand your situation, they won’t be able to help you.
- Review your lifestyle – how you live can either relieve or exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms. Think about what and when you’re eating and drinking. Get a sleep routine. Do some yoga or meditation. Start some exercise but make sure it’s exercise you’ll enjoy doing so you stick to it.
With thanks to organisations like BHF we can alter the perception of menopause and change cultures so that women can work through it without worrying.
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