Hot flushes, mood swings, and the sweats are causing 14 million days of work to be lost every year.
Almost a third of UK women in the average menopause age – 50 to 64 – are having to take time off work because of menopause symptoms.
A woman in Kent claims her symptoms have become so bad that she struggles at work and is considering taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to battle the menopause.
Lisa Calthorpe, 51, works from home as a self-employed hairdresser in Tunbridge Wells.
She said: “The hot sweats I get on the menopause have really affected me a lot. Last year, during the really hot summer, I had to get two fans for the room. Obviously, the sweats aren’t helped with the heat of hairdryers and when I’m washing someone’s hair, the hot steam just makes it worse. I really don’t want to take HRT, although I have considered it and it’s something I will have to think about if it gets any worse.”
Lisa has never taken time off work because of the menopause and worries what it could mean for her business if she did.
The mother-of-three said: “The menopause does have a bearing on my job because I am self-employed, so if I were to take the day off I’d be letting all of my customers down and then I’d have to try and find somewhere else to slot them in which isn’t easy.
“I’m lucky that I’m self-employed and if I ever needed to take a day off I could, but I’m also unlucky in the sense that I can’t get paid sick days if I’m feeling really ill.
“It can be embarrassing with customers when your face starts to go bright red when you’re having a hot sweat. Fortunately, my customers are really understanding and a lot of them have gone through the menopause themselves. I do think there is a lack of understanding about it though, especially with some men who just seem to laugh it off.”
KIMS Hospital in Maidstone has a Menopause and HRT Clinic which aims to alleviate symptoms such as flushes, sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, memory loss, lack of sleep and more.
Miss Anne Henderson, Consultant Gynaecologist at KIMS Hospital in Maidstone said: “As an experienced menopause specialist who runs one of the busiest menopause clinics in Kent, I frequently see the adverse impact that substandard treatment and misinformation can have on this group of women. Often they are either frightened about potential risks or given outdated types of HRT. Modern body-identical HRT offers huge benefits with almost negligible risk, and women on this type of regime will potentially reduce their death rates from heart attacks and strokes by up to 50%.
“Unfortunately, it is still a fact that women at work during the peri-menopause and menopause are more likely to suffer disciplinary action and discrimination, seek early retirement and have long-term sick leave than at any other time in their lives. I am involved in menopause education in the workplace, which is vitally important to help minimise the impact that menopause morbidity can have at work.
“Women should always seek specialist advice regarding the menopause and HRT if they have any concerns or wish to discuss the subject in more detail.”