False! Menopause affects everyone! Not everyone goes through it but hands up if you know a woman … Exactly!
Picture this … I set off for a local breakfast networking meeting, ready to share, listen, speak, and flog some HotWomenAtMenopause literature. I’m hoping for a chance to raise further awareness and offer support. I arrive at the golf club where the meeting is being hosted, park the car, find the room and … boom – the room is filled with men! Then, the host asks if anyone would like to give an off the cuff presentation! What an opportunity – my hand goes up first!
After a few embarrassing giggles (not on my part I hasten to add), some fidgeting in seats and shuffling of feet, an interesting. and intelligent discussion ensues with some great questions asked. We spend the next two hours talking ‘menopause’. The empathy these men now have for their work colleagues, their partners and their wives seems to have risen ten-fold. They tell me they wish they’d known all this before. Yes, so do I! “Thank you for listening,” I finally say, and then quickly add, “And now you’re all part of the menopause movement – so go forth and raise awareness!”
Whoever you are, did you know …
- Menopause is the ceasing of menstruation and a woman is said to have reached menopause when she has had 12 months without a period.
- Symptoms can last for years – sometimes up to five years before menopause is achieved.
- Women who don’t have symptoms are in the minority.
- Menopause is not always a natural event – it can be induced earlier due to surgery or certain medical treatments and many women also go through menopause naturally early, in their 20s and 30s!
- The changes in a woman’s hormones at this time can affect her long-term health – her heart, her bone and brain health.
- Once symptoms are under control, menopause can be a time of opportunity!
Whilst the menopause movement is making huge inroads, there are still many people who find it a tricky subject to discuss. Remember though, it is up to the woman going through it to decide if she wants to discuss it or not.
We should all want to support someone going through menopause, so here are some Dos and Don’ts:
Do say …
How are you? And depending on the answer: Is there anything I can do to help/support?
Don’t say … (or assume)
You must be going through the change/menopause/that time of your life!!!
Do say …
Would it help if … we had a chat/we talked (about how you’re feeling? If appropriate)
Don’t say …
What’s wrong with you/what’s the matter with you/you don’t seem yourself.
I’ve noticed that … you’re not sleeping/seem tired/you’ve had a lot of headaches recently etc., can I do anything to help?
I think you need to go on HRT.
Do you want a chat/some time to yourself?
You may have noticed a colleague or employee is struggling or not meeting deadlines, they may be late for work etc., If so, please see Line Manager and colleague menopause training from Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace as a priority!)
Is it hot in here or is it just you? Or any other kind of joke. Humour is not appropriate in this situation and is often used to mask embarrassment or ignorance.
Every woman is unique, and how a woman manages her menopause is entirely up to her. Remember to:
- Offer your help sensitively and appropriately.
- Do your research – see information sources and helpful links below and
- Get some training if you’re an employer, colleague or the woman going through it in the workplace.
It’s really important to remember that not everybody who goes through menopause identifies as a cis-woman, (a cis-woman is someone who identifies as a woman and was assigned a female at birth) there are quite a lot of women who would identify as transmen or gender fluid or gender non-binary, who still have the appropriate biological make-up to experience menopause.
And finally …
Who doesn’t love a meal being cooked for them, but if you’ve got to cook for yourself … you’re still in for a treat!
Here are some delicious and nutritious recipes from our resident Cook, Nutritional Therapist and Foodie – Helen Ford.
Information sources and helpful links: