With an increasing percentage of women in the workplace, World Menopause Day 2019 on Friday 18th October raises awareness that this is no longer something that women should suffer in silence.

Menopause and working in the office

For every ten women experiencing menopausal symptoms, six say it has a negative impact on their work. The CIPD is asking all employers to use this Friday’s World Menopause Day to break the stigma and ensure that people of all ages achieve their true potential at work.

At SYLO | Beyond HR., it comes as no surprise that at least one of our team has experienced the Menopause. Marion Acworth has a different story that she would like to share, to help both women and their employers become more aware that as individuals, each of our experiences can be drastically different.

Turning back the clock…… by Marion Acworth

P.O.I   Any clue what this stands for?

In medical terms this stands for Premature Ovarian Insufficiency, this for me was the start of the menopause.

This was early, much earlier than my mum who hit the menopause late into her 40’s early 50’s. There is no age limit, like we have been led to believe, and no time limit either. I never knew I was entering the menopause.  My periods had been infrequent, so missing a period was not uncommon for me.  Sleep has always been a problem I tend to live on 6 hours and pretty much can operate quite successfully. Well, thought I was operating OK.

The hot flushes day and night were always there, and I just thought well that’s just normal as I have had them for such a long time. The aches in the joints, felt like most days I had run a marathon, I can barely jog let alone run so why were my bones, particularly my hip joints, so painful??

Backwards and forwards to the doctors, endless tests, blood being taken, probes and discussions around menopause. Tears, frustrations, a bone density scan and then finally, I hit my wall. I paid a lot of money to go and see a consultant who thankfully knew I was well and truly in the menopause and had been since I was 37.  That was the best £180 I have ever spent.

Turn forward the clock

I now know that the pain and aches in my bones was that my body was missing a vital ingredient at such a young age. The hot flushes, around 20 a day, waking me up, making me feel embarrassed was to do with the vital ingredient.  The lack of sleep, yes you guessed it that vital ingredient.  A little dose of estrogen.

I now take HRT not because I can’t cope with the pain, flushes, lack of brainpower etc. but because I don’t have much choice, I need it, my body needs it.  I am still considered young, and HRT has its risks and it currently works for me.

There are some down days to be expected but most days I feel good, flushes come and go, sleep is much better and the pains have gone. I do also help myself. I can’t be on the magic drug all my life, so I eat well, I do yoga, I walk in nature, I play netball and I swim. I have reduced my alcohol intake and I spend time with my family and friends most of whom are not quite there yet, still wondering whether they are having hot flushes or not 😊

I am thankful and grateful for this change and new way of living. The menopause is ok, you just need to listen to your body. Understand what works for you, identify the risks to you and look after yourself. Get out into nature, seek help and attend any workshops that are available. Live your life and adapt to the change. Life, after all, is for living and the menopause should not stop it.

Marion’s experience tells us that we should listen to what our bodies are telling us and take note, whether female or male!! If you would like to understand more about how to communicate with your employees about this or other subjects in an appropriate way or any other issue, please contact us here.