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Times have changed: Menopause matters for business

Until recently, taboos around the menopause were so entrenched that many people didn’t even use the ‘M’ word. Instead, they resorted to euphemisms such as ‘the change’ or ‘change of life’, or simply ignored the subject altogether.

But times have changed, and not engaging with the issues around menopause or supporting women in the workplace is no longer an option for any organisation.

Data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows menopausal women are now the fastest growing demographic in the workplace.1 This statistic is even more striking when you consider that every year almost a million women — many at the peak of their careers — leave the workforce because of menopause symptoms.2

Squandering talent

Symptoms

Symptoms more commonly associated with menopause10 usually span both phases and can include low mood, anxiety, panic attacks, problems with memory and concentration, difficulty sleeping, muscle and joint pain, recurrent urinary tract infections, headaches and palpitations, as well as symptoms such irregular periods, unusually heavy or light periods, hot flushes and night sweats.

Not surprisingly, these symptoms often undermine performance in the workplace and women’s confidence. For one in four, menopause symptoms are so severe they are debilitating. And many women are forced to take long-term absence — on average 32 weeks — to manage symptoms.11

Yet Bupa research has shown that 45% of women never discuss menopause symptoms with their GP12, and if they do, a gap still exists in women’s health issues. This is because menopause is not a compulsory part of GP training and NICE guidelines only came into place in 2015. As such some GPs can find themselves ill equipped to recognise and manage symptoms in a typical 10-minute appointment.13

Research

Menopause support

1 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568240/employment-stats-workers-aged-50-and-over-1984-2015.pdf (PDF, 0.2MB) and https://www.bupa.co.uk/~/media/Files/MMS/bins-04794.pdf (PDF, 0.1MB)

2 https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/culture/well-being/menopause/people-manager-guidance#gref

3 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/17/my-bosses-were-happy-to-destroy-me-the-women-forced-out-of-work-by-menopause

4 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/aug/07/menopause-centre-increasing-number-uk-employment-tribunals

5 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397

6 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/

7 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/

8 https://www.bupa.co.uk/~/media/Files/MMS/bins-04794.pdf (PDF, 0.1MB)

9 https://www.bupa.co.uk/~/media/Files/MMS/bins-04794.pdf (PDF, 0.1MB)

10 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/

11 https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/line-manager-guide-to-menopause_tcm18-95174.pdf (PDF, 1MB)

12 https://lizearlewellbeing.com/healthy-living/menopause/bupa-plan-for-the-menopause/

13 https://lizearlewellbeing.com/healthy-living/menopause/bupa-plan-for-the-menopause/

14 https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/line-manager-guide-to-menopause_tcm18-95174.pdf (PDF, 1MB)

Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ

Bupa Health Trusts are administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ © Bupa 2022

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