Twelve months ago, I read the statement:
One in four menopausal people considers leaving their careers because of menopausal symptoms.
That statistic completely blew me away and, quite frankly, made me really quite angry. Why should people feel they must walk away from hard-earned careers because they don’t know about or find it challenging to manage menopausal symptoms?
When I read that, I knew I had to do my part in raising awareness.
I’ll be honest, I’m no menopause expert, but I thought, ‘What skills have I got (communication, training, speaking platform), and what tools do I have that I can use to make a difference?’
Fast forward a year, and I’ve had the privilege of delivering menopause training to over 2,000 people. Not just middle-aged menopausal women (like myself) but people of all ages and genders.
I’ve been completely blown away by courageous people sharing their stories – not just women, but men too. So, to think menopause is just a ‘woman’s thing’ (direct quote from my dad) couldn’t be further from the truth.
Menopause Doesn’t Just Impact Women!
One clear thing is that there is still little general understanding of the symptoms of menopause and how they manifest. Of course, we all know of the ‘hot flushes’, but there are many more.
Last week, I ran a general menopause awareness session for 70 people for a very forward-thinking organisation. Before it began, a couple of delegates were discussing why one of their male colleagues had opted out of attending, ‘He said, ‘That’s women’s stuff. I don’t need to hear that’!
During my general ‘awareness’ sessions (which are for everyone regardless of gender), not only are many women surprised at the signs, but I’ve heard heartbreaking stories from at least half a dozen men saying that if they had been aware of the symptoms, they might still be with their ex-partners.
So, to think menopause doesn’t or won’t affect everyone at some point is, quite frankly, naïve.
Not every person will have all these symptoms. The lucky ones don’t experience any at all. However, during my research and using feedback from over 1000 menopausal women, the following seem to be the most common:
- Brain fog
- Low mood
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor memory
- Loss of confidence
- Lack of motivation/fatigue
- Mood swings
- Inability to regulate emotions
- Difficulty sleeping
- Hot flushes/night sweats
- Dry hair, skin, nails – hair loss
- Joint stiffness, aches and pains
- Reduced muscle mass
- Urinary tract infections
- Low libido
- Painful, uncomfortable sex
- Weight gain
- Unpredictable and excessive bleeding
The Last Taboo?
One of the questions that are commonly asked is, ‘Why is it that THIS generation is shouting about menopause when our mothers’ generation almost kept it as a ‘dirty secret’ – not to be discussed in polite conversation?’
I think in answer to that is that my generation is the first to want or need to have it all, i.e., a career, children still at home, caring responsibilities, children leaving the nest, etc., all whilst dealing with the often horrendous physical and mental impact of menopause.
I realise that I’m broad brushing here; obviously, some women had all that in previous generations too, but it wasn’t as prevalent. Women were more likely to have jobs that weren’t necessarily as demanding, may have been part-time, or they didn’t work at all.
I’m not saying that it wouldn’t have been difficult for them too, of course, it would, but they didn’t have to sit in a board room and explain the ins and outs of why there was a percentage drop in sales, worry about what their teenage child was up to and whether their elderly parent was safe, all whilst managing hot flushes and wading through brain fog!
Menopause Awareness Training
No matter your age or gender, menopause will touch every single one of us at some point. I’m a great believer in ‘Knowledge is Power’. Arming yourself with at least the basics will no doubt help when it does.
If you’re a person going through menopause, I have a 4-week online course that teaches simple tools and techniques to help you thrive, ‘Managing the Menopause with Style’. Click here to learn more about it – use code LINKEDIN20 for 20% off until the end of October 2022.
For organisations, I deliver in-person or virtual menopause awareness training:
- General Menopause Awareness – 1 hour
- Managers Menopause Awareness – 2 hours
- Managing the Menopause with Style (menopausal people) – 2 hours
DM or email me at email@example.com for more information.
If there are any topics that you’d like me to cover in upcoming articles, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me a firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, do it now to receive a FREE copy of my mini-course, ‘How to Hack Your Happy Hormones’!