I am Dr. Louise Newson. I am a GP and Menopause Expert in West Midlands.
It can affect people really in so many ways. Up to 10% of women actually consider giving up work because of the menopause and I think that could be an underestimation. Because of the symptoms that you can experience – especially the concentration and the energy symptoms that can really affect and like I said before, the lack of confidence that you have – so lots of people really struggle.
In the past they might have given up work – retired earlier…but it’s harder…the pensions are different. And also as women we work very hard to get to certain stage in our career and to give it up because of menopause is very hard.
The other thing is as a GP it is very difficult when people want time off work because of their menopausal symptoms…to actually write “menopausal symptoms” on a sick note isn’t good and it can cause a lot of problems with the employers because lots of people don’t understand how severe menopausal symptoms can be. So for a woman to explain to her employer that they are menopausal just gets a bit of a laugh and maybe not taken seriously. So maybe they want to have something like “anxiety and depression” written on their sick note but then that again deals with collusion and their employer might think “Oh my goodness! I don’t want someone who is depressed and anxious working for me” and it builds up barriers.
So I think it’s very hard. It’s not just a taboo for women; it’s a taboo for people in general and when I talk to people and say I am really passionate about the menopause… I deal with women and help women, lots of people laugh and say “Why would you do that?” and it’s so interesting because it makes a massive difference if you can help these women in a very difficult and a very vulnerable time of their lives.