Symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are still ignored by employers and mistreated by medics.
9 Minute ReadHow To
A report by Deloitte estimated the ‘Peri-Millennial’ – the perimenopausal millennial – will make up over 37% of the global workforce by 2025 and yet symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are still ignored by employers, mistreated and mis prescribed by medics and alternative, holistic solutions are unrecognised.
Our aim is to offer a practical guide to those going through the menopause and offer advice on how to navigate it in the workplace.
Definition. Menopause is a life stage which signals the end of the reproductive stage of a woman’s life.
Reality. We know that menopause is much, much more than that to many women. For something that happens to every woman, the menopause is still a life event shrouded in myths and mystery. The symptoms are often not recognised by women (or their doctors) and therefore are undertreated and, until recently, have been something of a taboo subject, especially in the workplace.
What are the symptoms to look out for?
“The impact of the menopause is still massively underestimated,” says Tania Adib, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, who runs a menopause clinic at the private HCA Lister Hospital in London. “On a daily basis in clinic I will see women who say they want to quit their jobs, because they can’t cope with their menopause symptoms. These can include brain fog, memory problems, anxiety, joint pain, depression, lack of sex drive, and insomnia, as well as hot flushes and night sweats.”
This is not an exhaustive list, in fact there are as many as 42 or more symptoms of the menopause that have been identified, other symptoms include burning mouth, dry eyes, itchy skin, as well as heart palpitations and vaginal dryness, itching and burning.
Some women will sail through the menopause and only experience short-lived symptoms, others have multiple biological and psychological problems, some of which are severe and can last years.
Havoc in the workplace
One place where menopause can have a massive impact is the workplace. According to a recent CIPD Survey  Two-thirds (67%) of women (aged 40–60 in employment) with experience of menopausal symptoms say they have had a mostly negative effect on them at work.
A respondent in that survey said that while they were going through many changes, their employer wanted them as they were before and working hard, and they said that had been difficult with no sleep and anxiety.
Another claimed that due to forgetfulness and not being as sharp with recall as they had previously, they were side-lined when it came to big presentations which was a huge shift as she had once been considered one of the most valued members of the team.
In the CIPD survey, over half (53%) were able to think of a time when they were unable to attend work due to menopausal symptoms. Only 11% mentioned their symptoms but not menopause to their manager while a further 11% mentioned menopause and their symptoms to their manager.
Support at work from an employer can make a considerable difference to the impact of those symptoms at work as it can help to calm anxiety. And a healthy workplace culture can make employees feel supported.
How Employers can develop a menopause policy.
Professional organisations including the CIPD as well as campaigners Gen M and The Hot Resignation in the US have a wealth of information on how to develop a policy and support employees and colleagues. They have all conducted surveys that clearly outline how employees transitioning through menopause feel in the workplace. Reading the results of some of their surveys will help employers understand the scale of the problem and swing into action to mobilise more support in the workplace.
Below is a list of some of the steps that organisations have taken to support their employees transitioning the menopause:
- Involve all employees in training to help breakdown the taboo
- Establish a support network
- Provide access to drinking water to help symptoms
- Easily accessible advice
- Draft a written policy
- Some organisations offer help through occupational health by offering free or subsidised counselling.
- Provide planned flexi work including home and hybrid working, and unplanned late starts after sleep disturbance
- Ability to control temperature
- Contact the Governments Menopause Employment Champion to drive employer led campaign
As well as developing policies and potentially offering access to occupational therapy services you could also consider working with LYMA to offer your employers on how alleviate the symptoms more naturally. It is also possible to negotiate a subsidised rate on their Supplement if bulk ordered. Before taking the supplements LYMA offer a hotline to speak with their experts to understand your supplement needs.
How to talk to your GP
For employees feeling the effects of menopause, they should first talk to their GP and the first hurdle is how to convey all your perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms.
Here are some failsafe tips on how to talk to your GP about perimenopause and menopause and get the most effective support out there.
1. Make a list
A lot of women suffer with brain fog and in that moment at the GP surgery, you might forget some of the things you came in with. That’s when you might worry you won’t be taken seriously. So, make the most out of your appointment and make a list of all your symptoms, even if you have to read it out.
2. Only talk about menopause
Don't go into your appointment with other complaints too because it will be diagnosis overload and there's no way that doctor is going to be as receptive and empathetic. For the best help, stick to just explaining your menopausal symptoms.
3. Book a double appointment
If your surgery allows it, request two back-to-back appointments so you have a full 20 minutes to speak your mind and your doctor to work out a treatment plan.
4. Be clear with what you’re feeling
Tell your physician, “I don't feel depressed, I just don't feel like myself.” These are two very different issues that often get confused and a lot of women who have been depressed in the past can recognise that.
5. Find the best GP at your surgery
GPs all have different strengths; if there’s somebody within your practice who likes this topic and who's the go-to within the practice, request an appointment with them specifically.
6. Ask to be referred to a menopause specialist
Alternatively, if menopause is something none of your GPs know much about, ask them to refer you to someone who does. They’re professionals and it’s not offensive to get yourself referred on to somebody who can better deal with your symptoms.
7. Go to a private menopause specialist if possible
If you can afford to, go and see somebody privately – it’s money well spent. We've all grown up thinking that the NHS should provide us with every type of healthcare but spending money on our health is a good investment. We will often go and pay that much for a haircut!
How to talk to your employer
If your menopause symptoms are affecting your work and if your workplace does not have a menopause policy, it can be embarrassing to talk to your employer. Being honest about your symptoms and asking for help is a good first step.
As you did with your visit to your GP, prepare a list of your symptoms, let them know that you have visited your GP to confirm that you are transitioning the menopause and suggest some practical solutions (See section above on developing a menopause policy).
If your line manager isn’t approachable or sympathetic or you prefer to speak with a woman, consider asking for a meeting with HR, or talking to a different manager who makes you feel more comfortable. Try and build a support network at work.
There are several organisations that can help your employer develop a menopause policy including the CIPD and may guide you in your conversations with them.
Look at practical solutions that might help your symptoms from diet, to supplements and HRT. If possible, ask to work from home where you are in control of your environment and cut out a commute time, especially if you need an extra hour in bed. If you’re starting to be forgetful, start making lists, have a small notebook or use your phone to log things you need to do.
How can LYMA help?
Mid-life doesn’t have to be a depressing time; it can be a time of regeneration and finding new opportunities.
The good news is, there are ways of tackling menopause. The deficiency of hormones can be treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other treatments and lifestyle changes. The right supplements can also provide relief from some symptoms. In this report we want to bust some of the popular myths that persist about menopause and equip women with the facts and information to get the treatments and support they need.
Breathe life into menopausal skin
Menopause can spell bad news for skin. The combination of depleting hormones, poor sleep, anxiety and inflammation, often causes skin to tip completely off balance. To help with dry, menopausal skin, LYMA Skincare is the most advanced epigenetic skincare in existence, restoring skin’s vital oxygen supplies from every angle. The complex formulation engineered by geneticists and stem cell experts, protects and restores skin capillaries, improving delivery of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells. Cells start to produce more energy, fulfil their required functions and work to reach their optimal state.
Push oxygen into your skin further with the LYMA Laser. The near-infrared cold laser light increases the skin’s ability to absorb potent formulas, allowing cellular energy to flourish. Both the LYMA Oxygen Mist and Glide systems enable the Laser to travel over the skin seamlessly and results show it’s 30 times more powerful than any professional oxygen facial. The LYMA Laser System reinstates a healthy oxygen supply, skin looks plumper, acts younger and gets its bounce back.
An unrivalled menopause Supplement
Whether you decide to go the HRT route to help you through menopause or not, supplementing in the right way can make a huge difference to almost every single one of those 42 typical symptoms. The gold standard of supplements, LYMA contains a blend of patented power ingredients to treat body and mind. Vita-algae D3™ and MenaQ7® Matrix work in tandem to distribute calcium to the bones and tissues of the body, thus eliminating joint pain, whilst Cognizin® 250mg, the world’s leading nootropic, nourishes your brain back into focus, restoring mental clarity. KSM-66® Ashwagandha 600mg, dosed at the clinically proven level, transforms bad sleep into deep sleep and HydroCurc® 600mg; an unsurpassed active turmeric that’s renowned for treating menopausal symptoms, delivers an unparalleled quantity of curcuminoids, reducing inflammation throughout the body. Anyone can feel the benefits of the LYMA formula but as thousands of customers report every month, it’s when you’re needing relief through the stages of perimenopause and menopause, that LYMA truly comes into its own.
Case Study: How LYMA and HRT Gave Me My Life Back
See how Ivana overcame her menopause brain fog, moods and anxiety combining natural supplements and HRT.
 CIPD – Menopause in the workplace employee experience 2023