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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    Why we all need to embrace new menopause guidance in the workplace

    Why we all need to embrace new menopause guidance in the workplace

    Posted on June 27th, 2023

    According to the Fawcett Society, one in ten women who worked whilst going through the menopause left their job due to their symptoms. That’s a considerable number of women, and no doubt their decision to leave had a massive impact on their workplace, not to mention the huge effect it must have had on them personally.

    Given the figures, it’s clear that something needs to change. Menopausal women need greater support in the workplace. Thankfully, the British Standards Institution (BSI) has just published a workplace standard to tackle the taboo surrounding the menopause and to help employers keep women in work. Read on as the Occupational Healthcare experts at YourGP discuss why attitudes to ‘the change’ need to change.

    What is the menopause?

    Before an employer is able to implement any positive changes in the workplace, it is essential that they fully understand what their menopausal team members are experiencing.

    The menopause is when a woman’s periods stop. This usually happens around the age of 51 but everyone is different and some women can enter menopause much earlier or much later than this.

    The lead-up to the menopause is known as the perimenopause stage, when hormone levels begin to fluctuate and periods become irregular.

    As a woman’s oestrogen levels decrease, the ovaries produce fewer and fewer eggs until the woman is no longer able to reproduce.

    What are the most common symptoms of the menopause?

    Every woman has their own individual experience of the menopause – some will experience all the symptoms below, whilst others will experience one or two:

    • Heavy and / or irregular periods
    • Hot flushes
    • Night sweats
    • Low mood and feelings of anxiety
    • Poor memory and concentration, also referred to as ‘brain fog’
    • Vaginal dryness
    • Painful joints
    • Bladder problems
    • Dry skin

    What can be done to manage the symptoms of the menopause?

    For some women, starting HRT can make all the difference to how they feel. It’s always best to speak to a trusted healthcare expert when deciding the best route for you. However, there are things you can incorporate into your daily life that can help too:

    • Eat a balanced diet, low in fat and high in calcium to protect the heart and strengthen bones
    • Exercise regularly to help reduce anxiety
    • Stop smoking and avoid alcohol to reduce hot flushes

    What can employers do to support their team?

    Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to protect the health and wellbeing of their team, and there’s no reason why the menopause shouldn’t be included in such policies.

    Suggestions put forward by the BSI include:

    • Increase awareness of the menopause
    • Train managers to understand the potential impact symptoms of the menopause can have on an employee
    • Ensure facilities are accessible
    • Check if workplace policies take the menopause into account
    • Consider flexible work patterns for staff
    • Introduce comfortable seating and desk fans to help relieve symptoms of the menopause
    • Consider if adjustments need to be made to uniforms

    Does your team need help?

    If you would like more advice on how your workplace can better support employees going through the menopause, speak to the Occupational Healthcare team at YourGP. We can also arrange regular on-site visits, should any of your team wish to speak to us in full confidence about their personal menopause experiences. Simply call 0131 225 5656 or email occhealth@your.gp and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that suits you.

    When Lyn booked me with Dr McFarlane and said ‘what he doesn’t know about sexual health isn’t worth knowing’ she was right. Thorough assessment, quick test and immediate treatment all in a relaxed, professional manner – Excellent!

    Stu

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 | his.ihcregulation@nhs.scot

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.