????????????????????????????????????????In today’s modern world where employers recognise key life stages including pregnancy, bereavement and child-birth, it seems there is one remaining natural life event that is being grossly ignored… the menopause!

A new government report written by Dr Ros Altmann calls for greater support for workers going through the menopause. Dr Altmann, Business Champion for Older Workers, who advises the Government on ways to keep older people in the work-force, says employers are failing older women by ignoring ‘the last taboo’

The report calls for more support for women going through this significant life stage and states a lack of support is forcing some women out of their jobs. Dr Altmann says women ‘are being performance-managed out of their jobs.  Dr Altman states the menopause ‘is not on the work radar.  Pregnancy is, childbirth is, berevament is but [menopausal women] get no support in the workplace.’

We asked Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading authority on women’s natural health and author of Natural Solutions to Menopause how the menopause affects women and what employers can do to support women going through the menopause…

‘The news that women are being forced out of the workplace because employers are ignoring the impact of the menopause is shocking.  The menopause is just a transition in a woman’s life and if given good advice this transition can be comfortable and easy.  Women can now live 30 to 50 years past the menopause and they want to live that with a good quality of life.’

‘If women are told how to cope and manage this stage in their lives, then they can be very productive and efficient at work.  They have the experience and maturity to do their jobs well and can be very valuable assets to a company.  The menopause should be ‘on the work radar’ because it not only helps women feel well and healthy at this time in their lives, but also helps menopausethe company retain and utilise the valuable experience of productive and efficient women.’

How long can the menopause last and what are the symptoms?

‘The average age in the UK is 51 but the menopause can start as early as 40 or as late in life as 55. The menopause typically lasts for about 7 years, but some women can experience symptoms for up to 14 years.

‘Common symptoms can include; hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, declining libido, osteoporosis, weight gain, depression, lack of energy, ageing skin, hair loss, vaginal dryness, mood swings’

How common is it for you to see women complaining of menopausal or peri-menopausal symptoms in your clinics? 

‘It is very common for me to see women complaining of symptoms around this time in their lives.  Of course, the women that are sailing through the menopause don’t need help and so I am usually only seeing those who do.  There are some women though who come into my clinic where the menopause has been easy but they are concerned about their future health and want to stay healthy and mentally sharp, with good bone health and energy so they want to work on prevention.’

Do you think it would be hard for these women to approach their employers about symptoms and possible support, given the current climate?

‘I think it would be very hard and embarrassing for the women where the menopause is affecting them to talk to them employers about this, especially if the employer is a man.  For many women this stage is a very clear signal that they are getting older and would be worried about talking about the symptoms as this may imply tht they are not coping with the job and are not so productive or efficient.  I think they would be worried about losing their job or being made redundant if they spoke out.’

What sorts of initiatives and support could employers introduce to make it easier for women to manage their symptoms and stay in full time employment?

‘I think it would be brilliant if employers could bring in someone like myself to give a ‘training’ day for women on how to cope with the menopause.  This information day should be open to all women in the company, no matter what their age, because if they are given good advice earlier on and prepare for the menopause then they can move through this transition easily and comfortably.  It would be of value to the women definitely but also to the employers as they will then be keeping a valuable member of staff who wants to stay in full time employment who is healthy, productive and efficient.  And with the renewed general health will come less absenteeism across the board for these women.’

 

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health.  Dr Glenville is the Former President of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine and the author of a number of internationally best selling books including ‘Overcoming PMS the Natural Way’, ‘The Natural Health Bible for Women’ and ‘Fat around the Middle’ www.marilynglenville.com.  Dr Glenville runs a number of clinics in London, Kent and Ireland.  If you are interested in a consultation, you can contact Dr Glenville’s clinic on 01892 515905 or by email: health@marilynglenville.com