Busting myths about the Menopause
For many people, experiencing the Menopause can have a significant impact on their personal and professional life. But it shouldn’t be something they have to face alone.
Ahead of World Menopause Day on 18 October, we aim to bust myths about the Menopause and empower colleagues to make the right choices for their health.
We want to help bring about a change in culture – at the University and beyond – so conversations about the Menopause are normalised and no longer taboo. People experiencing the Menopause often talk about feeling unseen, unheard and dismissed. This is a reflection of the lack of education and awareness at all levels in society, but we have the opportunity to make a difference at Leeds.
The University offers a wide range of advice and support to help during the transition, ranging from Occupational Health Services referrals to Meno-Pause for Thought Cafés. Finding the right help to understand and manage symptoms can make a positive difference, both at home and at work.
Associate Professor of Clinical Education at Leeds, Bee Macpherson, said: “Our Meno-Pause for Thought Cafés create time and a safe space to discuss the Menopause.
“They’re facilitated, respectful and confidential meetings where people can express their views and share their experiences. The cafés are open to anyone affected by the Menopause. We want to change the culture within our organisation so the Menopause can be discussed without embarrassment. We’re growing a lovely, supportive community where people tell me they feel empowered, which is great.”
We’re also hosting a packed programme of events to mark World Menopause Day this year, with a mixture of in-person and online activities available. Full details will be published shortly. Complete our short registration form to receive an email alert when listings go live.
We’re also keen to emphasise the Menopause isn’t just a women’s issue. All colleagues have a role to play as well, with our dedicated Menopause in the Workplace workshops open to all, irrespective of age or gender.
What is the Menopause?
The menopause is a natural part of ageing for women when menstruation stops, which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.
Perimenopause refers to the time leading up to menopause, when menstrual cycles become irregular due to fluctuating hormone levels. The average length of the perimenopause is four years.
Whilst the Menopause is a normal part of ageing, it’s not always an easy transition, with 30-60% of women experiencing intermittent physical and/or psychological symptoms that can have a significant impact on their daily life.
Where to get personal support
Those who find their menopausal symptoms are affecting their wellbeing and their capacity to carry out their work are encouraged to seek support. This may include:
- Seeing your GP for advice on available treatment options.
- Discussing your practical needs with your line manager, HR or another manager you feel comfortable talking to.
- Seeking advice from the Occupational Health Service. Colleagues can make a self-referral but the University won’t be able to implement any recommendations for work place adjustments unless the individual gives consent for a management referral, which will usually be initiated through HR. Occupational Health will advise on this as necessary.
- Seeking support from Staff Counselling and Psychological Support. This service is completely confidential and colleagues are able to contact the service through a self-referral.
Workplace support and guidance
University guidance around the Menopause has recently been updated, so we recommend accessing the resources again to learn what has changed.
- Menopause in the Workplace: Guidance for Individuals provides information, advice and signposting to University – and external – support services for those who are going through, or approaching the Menopause.
- Menopause in the Workplace: Guidance for Managers has been developed for managers, supervisors and colleagues to learn more about the Menopause and understand the symptoms and impact to be able to support staff effectively.
- Menopause in the Workplace sessions are run monthly by Organisational Development and Professional Learning (OP&PL) and are available to all colleagues, irrespective of age or gender. These workshops aim to raise awareness and develop a culture within the organisation, so conversations about the menopause are normalised.
- Our Menopause for Thought Cafés create a safe, respectful and confidential space to discuss the Menopause. Cafés take place each month – in person and online – and are open to everyone.
- A University working group supports and delivers a range of projects and initiatives around the Menopause. Contact Bee Macpherson or Bernadette Hardware if you’d like to be involved or receive support and training to co-facilitate a café.
External sources of information and support are also available on the Wellbeing, Safety and Health website.