Menopause is a natural stage in a women’s life and part of the natural ageing process. Although it may not affect everyone, the majority of women will, at some point, experience at least one of the 34 symptoms associated with menopause.
Recognising that 77% of the 1.3 million people of the NHS workforce are women, Newcastle Hospitals wants to support its colleagues through this time, by creating awareness and guidance for staff.
We have a fantastic Menopause Steering Group who will be working alongside our newly appointed project manager Sarah Hepworth-Dodds to start building Menopause awareness across the Trust.
The aim of Project Menopause is to create a supportive environment where staff can talk about menopause and its effects openly, providing information, guidance and advice for those directly and indirectly experiencing symptoms of the menopause.
What’s next with Project Menopause?
After the success of our event in September ’Talking all things Menopause’ and feedback received, we will be looking at hosting our next event in the coming months focussing on Brain Fog, stress and anxieties caused by the Menopause, with the view to having regularly scheduled events.
As we go into the New Year, we will be working with various directorates focussing on support and guidance for line managers and employees who are directly or indirectly effected by the symptoms of Menopause.
Keep an eye out for communications on all things Menopause in the Trust.
What is Menopause?
The medical definition of the menopause is when a woman has had her last period and is a natural part of the female ageing process. It usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, although it can occur any time up to a woman’s mid-60s.
A premature menopause can occur, with periods stopping before the age of 40, either naturally or as an effect of a medical condition or its treatment.
Around 1 in 100 women will experience a premature menopause and this of course can be at a time when still planning to conceive.
- Mood Swings
- Pains in Joints
- Hot Flushes
- Night Sweats
- Brain Fog
- Low Libido
- Feelings of not coping
- Changes to periods
If you are struggling with any of the above you maybe premenopausal or menopausal. Please be rest assured you are not alone and your symptoms can be managed. Do discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
Use this simple symptom tracker to take to your doctor which has some useful hints on planning your visit.Menopause symptom tracker
- Drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day
- Minimise caffeine and alcohol intake
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and Sugars
- Stop Smoking
- Exercise at least 3 times per week – a brisk 30 minute walk is all you need
- Get adequate sleep
- Eat natural foods, avoid processed foods
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce stress – yoga, meditation, listen to some music, get some fresh air
- Keep a diary of how you’re feeling – what helps and doesn’t help
Conversation at work
For many of us having a conversation about menopause is daunting.
Whether you’re experiencing symptoms or know someone who is, it’s always good to talk.
Here is a simple 3 step guide to having those conversations with your manager and colleagues:
Before your conversation
Ask yourself – 1. What are the main problems? 2. What do I want to get out of this conversation?
Do some research – there are plenty of social media pages and we have listed some useful resources below.
Plan but don’t script
Make notes on what is happening and how it is effecting you in the work place. Don’t be afraid to present some reasonable solutions.
Outline your conversation
- I have a problem
- This is how it is effecting me
- This is how it is impacting my work
- This is what I need help with and how long for
- Arrange a follow up
Not all managers and colleagues will have knowledge or experience of menopause symptoms so be open and honest and use the resources available to you.
Unfortunately there is no ‘one size fits all’ with menopause as everyone is individual and experiencing different levels of symptoms at different stages.
Below are some useful resources:
Following our session on Monday 6 December ‘Talking all things brain fog’ with Dr Christine Baker, we created this useful fact sheet of the common themes about how brain fog can affect you through the menopause, and some remedies to help manage these.Talking all things brain fog