That’s right men, this article is also for you! What is menopause and what can you do to help your loved one or colleague through it?
Fact: All women will go through it at some point in their lives. You can have early menopause in your 20s or 30s but most commonly ladies go through menopause between 45 and 55 years old. Hang about; I appear to be rapidly getting closer to that age bracket.
Myth: There are 10 million menopausal women in the UK at any given time. In fact, there are actually 13 million so even if you are not living with a menopausal woman, you may well be working with one.
Fact: Menopause starts with perimenopause, a period of time when ladies’ menstrual cycles go haywire – shorter cycles, longer cycles, lighter blood loss, heavier blood loss. No wonder women find it a bit traumatic and that is without the effect of those dastardly hormones wreaking havoc on their bodies and minds!
Myth: HRT is bad for you. As women go through menopause, oestrogen and progesterone levels reduce which can lead to palpitations, hot flushes, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and a drying out of one’s undercarriage. Added to this is the emotional realisation that they are no longer in their prime and are passing childbearing age. Whilst most people would externally admit their family is complete, internally they like the ‘never say never’ approach and it’s not easy to accept the finality which comes with menopause.
There are many different types of HRT and whilst some can increase the risk of, for example, certain cancers, making it unsuitable for some, they also come with some benefits like reducing osteoporosis. It is a case of weighing up the benefit versus the risk. A shocking study revealed that out of 3,000 women surveyed after seeing their GP for HRT, 66 percent were actually prescribed antidepressants instead.
Men, it is time to advocate for your women if they feel they are not being listened to. However, you might want to duck behind a door or an island in the kitchen if you decide to be brave and ask your loved one whether they think they should consider HRT! Please see the NHS website for any minor injuries sustained.
Fact: A study identified that nine out of 10 women said their menopause had adversely affected their work. It is very common during menopause to get a ‘foggy’ brain. Think about how you could help your colleagues. Would an AC unit or more powerful fan be helpful to them? Would allowing them a bit more time to complete projects be an option? Have you thought about running a menopause information talk for your female colleagues (and men if you are forward-thinking)?
We were invited into a business in Ipswich that was heavily dominated by females and most of them were at an age where they were affected by menopause in one way or another. We were able to give them more information about what to expect and what their options were. It is a subject people do not talk about but it is the 21st century and we need to get these conversations out there and normalise them.
caroline: 07588 706869 caroline@capelParishNurses.org.uk
Margaret: 07588 698284 Margaret@capelParishNurses.org.uk