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How To Help Someone With Menopause

Developing A Menopause Policy

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To help staff feel supported it’s a good idea to have a policy specifically for the menopause.

Having a menopause policy can help everyone in the organisation understand:

  • what the menopause is and how it can affect people
  • how it affects everyone differently
  • what support is available to staff affected by it

The menopause policy could also:

  • explain what training is provided to managers, supervisors and team leaders
  • explain who the organisation’s point of contact is for queries related to the menopause
  • show how the organisation is open and trained to talk and listen sensitively about the effects of the menopause
  • include information on gender identity and gender reassignment discrimination and how talking with staff about this is important

Even if there is a policy, employers should make some allowances when supporting staff through the menopause because everyone’s experience will be different.

You should also review any current health and safety policy to make sure it covers sex and gender-related issues, such as the menopause.

Vaginal Dryness And Discomfort

If your vagina becomes dry, painful or itchy as a result of the menopause, your GP can prescribe oestrogen treatment that’s put directly into your vagina as a pessary, cream or vaginal ring.

This can safely be used alongside HRT.

You’ll usually need to use vaginal oestrogen indefinitely, as your symptoms are likely to return when treatment stops. However, side effects are very rare.

You can also use over-the-counter vaginal moisturisers or lubricants in addition to, or instead of, vaginal oestrogen.

Read more about vaginal dryness and sex as you get older.

How Can Menopause Impact You At Work

Sometimes the menopause has no impact and women can sail through it with barely a symptom. But this transitional period is not easy for all.

There are the often embarrassing and stressful symptoms to contend with, which can be made worse by the negative perception of menopause in wider society, as well as a lack of accurate knowledge regarding the subject.

All of this can cause people to become isolated, disengaged and demotivated particularly if they find their workplace uncomfortable and unsupportive. In fact, alarmingly, a 2019 report by Health and Her found that 370,000 women in the U.K. had left work or were contemplating doing so because of the impact of menopausal symptoms.

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Tips For Husband Whose Wife Going Through Menopause

Most husbands and partners are clueless or know very little about what to expect when their womens menopause period begins. Besides, many women are not aware either of what happens to their bodies when this stage of their lives starts.

When a woman approaches the level of hormones in her body fluctuates, it marks the end of menstrual cycles. These lead to fatigue, mood swings and other unpleasant menopause symptoms like hot flashes.

The changes make it hard for most women to figure out the right things to do or not do to ensure that they keep their partners happy and on the smooth base.

Besides, many men do not often get what their wives are going through, but the truth is that there is more to menopause than just the stopping of periods.

However, with menopause tips for husbands, this becomes much easy for you as a man you understand how menopause can affect your wife to enable you to offer her the right support.

Vaginal Dryness Atrophy Fear Hot Flushes

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Biological problems account for the majority of sexual problems in menopausal women. It is important to recognise that these problems hardly ever exist in isolation. Psychological, sociocultural, and/or relationship issues may also contribute to difficulties experienced by women and therefore its important that a thorough assessment is made to address these and other non-physiological factors.

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Nurture That Lost Desire

Make more time for sex. Try massage and foreplay, too. Use erotica and new-for-you sex routines as ways to build desire. Hormone changes are a main cause, but other things that zap your sex drive can strike at the same time. Ask your doctor about poor sleep, bladder trouble, or feeling depressed or stressed.

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Tip #3 She May Tell You Things

Dude, one man told us. be ready. You are going to hear some stuff. Discharge, heavy flow, boobs always sore, soaking through her pajamas with night sweats. For us guys, it can be hard to hear. But you gotta listen. As hard as it is for us to hear it, shes actually living it, and thats a whole lot harder.

Listening when she needs to complain or just be frank about whats happening is often the very best thing you can do. As someone who watches hospital shows with one hand over her face, I understand squeamish, but reacting negatively to her horrible menopause stories of heavy flow only embarrasses her and continues the stigma around womens bodies and their natural functions.

Its not a disease its biology, one wise man said. Youre not going to catch menopause like the flu. The more you listen, the more shell tell, and the more youll understand. And that makes it easier on both of you.

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Tip #2 She May Not Tell You Things

Menopause is still such a taboo subject that it can be hard to talk about, even between intimate, long-term partners. As this husband of 28 years said, Dont take it personally if she doesnt want to share the details with you. What happened to her that day might be really embarrassing, like maybe she had a hot flash while training some 22-year-old intern. Be open to hearing it, but also be open to not hearing it. And it can depend on the day, too one day its humiliating, the next day its hilarious. Just try to go with it.

Hot Flushes And Night Sweats

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If you experience hot flushes and night sweats as a result of the menopause, simple measures may sometimes help, such as:

If the flushes and sweats are frequent or severe, your GP may suggest taking HRT.

If HRT isn’t suitable for you, or you would prefer not to have it, your GP may recommend other medicines that can help, such as clonidine or certain antidepressants.

These medicines can cause unpleasant side effects, so it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before starting treatment.

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We’d Love To Hear From Husbands And Menopause Experiences

So, partners, wed love to hear from you how youre helping the women in your life manage menopause. What resources are your go-tos, what information is missing? With menopause still so taboo, are you even able to have conversations with women on the subject? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or on or . And by the way, guys? Thanks.

Keep Your Mind Active

Be wary of apps and video games promising to boost memory. The jurys still out on whether or not those are actually beneficial. Instead, find ways to keep your mind active. Seek everyday activities that require your brain to make important connections. Read, play cards with friends, volunteer, take a class, or even practice a hobby like painting. Learning a new skill, such as digital photography or quilting, has been found to improve memory.

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Are There Treatments For The Menopause

If your symptoms are severe, theres treatment available which could help. This includes hormone replacement therapy , which replaces oestrogen to alleviate symptoms, creams for vaginal dryness, and cognitive behaviour therapy to help with mood changes. Speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of different treatments.

Menopause And The Workplace

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Many women have said that they often find managing symptoms of the menopause in the workplace very challenging. Coping with symptoms in the workplace can be hard, especially as many women find it difficult to talk about menopause at work.

It is important that women feel supported to continue working throughout their menopause.

There are lots of small changes that managers and organisations can make to ensure workplaces are healthy and welcoming places for women going through menopause.

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How To Support Someone During The Menopause

The menopause has many possible physical and emotional symptoms, and this can make it a complex and challenging time. Around eight in every 10 women will have noticeable menopause symptoms and for one in four, they will be severe. Its not surprising that over a third of their partners say they struggle to know how best to offer support.

Perhaps your partner, wife, mum, friend or colleague is affected by the menopause, and youd like to be there for them but arent sure where to start. Here are my tips for understanding them and showing you care.

Change Your Lifestyle And Your Wardrobe

Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine can help, as well as avoiding spicy foods if youre having hot flushes.

Just think about your wardrobe too, says Dawn, natural fibres rather than man-made fibres are better if you’re struggling with hot flushes – and its all about the layers.

Jo McEwan from Hot Flush says it helps to exercise, which can ward off things like heart disease, osteoporosis, strokes and diabetes.

I made myself do a bit of boxing, and running if I can do it anyone can, because I dont like exercise!

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Introduce A Menopause Policy And Training

A clear policy or guidance document will help employees, people managers and leaders to understand how to support women experiencing the menopause at work, and to avoid any potential legal issues.

Including a section on menopause in your organization’s existing well-being or sickness policies is a good way to start. You may also want to consider introducing formal management training that covers the subject. This will help to improve understanding and confidence around what the menopause means, so that managers know what signs to look out for, how it may impact someone they manage, and what they can do to provide support.

Things To Never Say To Someone Going Through Menopause

Menopause- Help with the HOT FLASHES!

TV shows joke about it, your friends may laugh about it, and heck, even you may think it’s a good excuse to send your husband out for freeze pops, but the truth is that menopause is no joke. It’s a wild ride of hot flashes, weight gain, sleepless nights, and mood swings . And if you’re not in the thick of it, it can be hard to know what to sayand what not to sayto show your support to someone going through it. A good start? Avoiding the 8 phrases below.

Is your friend confiding in you about a change in her period, poor bladder control, or other menopause-like symptoms? According to the National Institute on Aging, the average age of a woman’s last period is 51, but some experience menopause in their 40s . So even though your instinct may be to make her feel better, it’s best not to brush off the big “M” and leave it to her doctor to decide what’s really going on.

Night sweats and interrupted sleep are common for women during the peri-menopausal transition and menopause, often leading to fatigue and mood swings, says Alyssa Dweck, MD, an OB/GYN at the Mount Kisco Medical Group in Westchester County, NY. “Lack of sleep can take a toll on your body, impacting energy levels, emotions, weight gain, and libido.” What helps? Power naps whenever possible, and lowering that thermostat.

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Managing Sickness Absence And Job Performance

Because the menopause is long term and affects everyone differently, managing absence from work should be handled sensitively.

Employers should keep talking with their staff and be prepared to:

  • make changes to help staff continue to work
  • take into consideration any performance issues which might be because of menopause symptoms

It’s a good idea for employers to talk to staff about any reasonable adjustments that could help them do their job. Staff should also be given a reasonable amount of time to adjust to any changes made.

When someone is off sick because of the menopause, the employer should record these absences separately from other absences. This is because there may be times when it could be unfair or discriminatory to measure menopause-related absence as part of the person’s overall attendance record.

It’s also good practice for an employer to allow staff to go to medical appointments related to the menopause. There is no law for this type of time off, but employees and workers might have a right to paid or unpaid time off written in their employment contracts.

Employers must not discriminate against someone because of their menopause symptoms.

Sexual Wellbeing And Intimacy

Women can experience a loss of sexual desire or sex drive due to hormone changes that take place during menopause. They may find they no longer want to have sex and that can be very upsetting for them and/or their partner. Other symptoms that can affect desire for sex can include:

  • vaginal dryness and discomfort that makes penetrative sex uncomfortable or painful
  • night sweats that affect sleep and energy for sex
  • emotional changes that can make someone feel too stressed or upset for sex

There are treatment options that help ease or manage some of these symptoms. However, if you are supporting your partner who is going through the menopause it’s just as important to ask how they are feeling and what they are experiencing so you can provide the type of support they need and want.

There are also a lot of ways to show love and care towards a partner. Regularly talking about different ways to feel close to each other and spending time together more generally is important.

It is still possible to get pregnant when perimenopausal, so its important that you continue conversations about contraception should you need it.

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Theres a whole year of Claires life which she cant remember.

Diagnosed with fibromyalgia while sitting her exams in high school, she was prescribed a dose of 1,800mg of gabapentin a day.

I took my tablets in the morning and by 12 oclock that afternoon I couldnt tell you what I had for breakfast, thats how strong they were, says the 28-year-old.

I dont remember any of it. I failed all my exams. I even had a boyfriend that I dont really know anything about.

Claires battle with chronic pain began at the age of 13, when she fell off of a horse and broke her hip. The break wasnt picked up until she underwent an operation three years later and the pain never fully subsided.

Claire has been experiencing chronic pain since the age of 13.

At the same time she was struggling with excruciatingly painful cramping not just during her period but was frequently dismissed by male doctors as having anxiety, or blamed for eating too much dairy or just trying to get out of school.

I told my GP that I was struggling and asked if he could write me a note so I could get some support at school. When I got the letter from him he had written that I should try going to bed a bit earlier, Claire adds.

Thats just one of the stories I can tell you about being a young woman experiencing chronic pain.

In 2015, after finally being listened to by a female GP, Claire underwent a laparoscopy and was told she had endometriosis.

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Stigma in the workplace

Agreeing To Changes With Staff

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It might be agreed that the employer can make a change at work to help someone going through the menopause. This might be a ‘reasonable adjustment‘ if the effects of the symptoms cause a disability.

Changes an employer could make to help support someone include:

  • being flexible where possible over start and finish times to help them manage their symptoms
  • allowing them to take breaks when needed
  • providing a private area where they can rest to help manage their symptoms
  • allowing them to work from home when practical
  • allowing them time off if they cannot carry on working that day
  • changing certain duties in their role
  • where appropriate, letting the person have control over their working environment, for example having a desk next to a window that opens or providing them with a fan

If someone believes a longer term change to their job would help them with their menopause symptoms they could make a flexible working request.

Employers should make sure managers are objective and knowledgeable in discussing, considering and agreeing any changes with staff.

Changes should be agreed in writing and managers should have follow-up conversations with staff to make sure the changes are working for both them and the employer.

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My Bosses Were Happy To Destroy Me The Women Forced Out Of Work By Menopause

Almost a million women in the UK have left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms. Countless others are discriminated against, denied support and openly mocked. Do they need new legal protections?

In 2019, Maras weekly performance review meetings grew intolerable she would sit in a cramped conference room with her supervisors only to be told that she wasnt performing well enough. I felt like a child, says Mara, who is 48, lives in Hampshire and works as a public servant. They would tell me off. Theyd say: You wont meet this deadline, will you? You didnt put a paragraph in this document.

A year earlier, Mara had had a hysterectomy, to alleviate her endometriosis. Afterwards, in surgically induced menopause, she began to experience debilitating brain fog, anxiety and depression. I was drowning, she says. I was overwhelmed. I couldnt see or think. Doctors prescribed antidepressants and oestrogen gel, but nothing helped. Mara could barely function at work. I couldnt retain anything, she says. I had no memory. I couldnt see or think clearly enough to do my work. I had no confidence at all. I thought I was useless.

Every week, she had to attend a meeting with her supervisors, where theyd tell her that, once again, she had failed to meet the standard expected. By the summer of 2019, Mara couldnt cope any more.

Theres a stigma. Being an older woman is not viewed as a positive thing in our society

Some names have been changed.

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