Updated Oct 18, 2022

World Menopause Day 2022

Today (18 October) is World Menopause Day, which is designated by the International Menopause Society (IMS) to raise awareness of the menopause and to support options to improve health and well-being for those experiencing menopause.

In 2019 the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and YouGov surveyed 1,409 working women experiencing menopause. The survey showed:

  • three out of five working women between the ages of 45 and 55 who are experiencing menopause symptoms say it has a negative impact on them at work;
  • nearly two-thirds of women surveyed said they were less able to concentrate;
  • more than half said they experience more stress;
  • 30% of women said they had taken sick leave because of their symptoms; and
  • only a small minority of women said they told their managers about the real reason for taking sick leave.

Awareness on menopause is fundamental, and reducing the stigma attached to it is vital so more people will talk openly about it, so it can begin to be normalised and people can get the support they need.

Those who are trans or non-binary have very limited resources and research available when going through the menopause, which can feel isolating and confusing.

Cognition and Mood

The theme this year is "cognition and mood", as cognitive complaints are frequent during the menopause and can be associated with decreased quality of life. Other symptoms include vasomotor symptoms (VMS), sleep disturbances and mood changes, which all contribute to cognitive difficulties.

Menopausal brain fog is a group of symptoms that happens around the time of the menopause, including:

  • difficulty remembering words and numbers;
  • disruptions in daily life, like misplacing items such as keys;
  • trouble concentrating, resulting in:
    • absent mindedness,
    • losing a train of thought,
    • being more easily distracted;
  • difficulty switching between tasks;
  • forgetting the reason for doing something, like why you came into a room; and
  • forgetting appointments and events.

Memory does change at menopause and brain fog is normal and common at midlife, but they should improve post menopause.

Menopause is an organisational issue

For employers, the menopause is a health and wellbeing concern for staff, which needs to be handled sensitively.

It is important for employers to be aware that the menopause and its symptoms can affect staff at any time. Being aware of this can help staff continue to do their job confidently and effectively.

Though menopause only effects those who have a menstrual cycle, everyone should be involved in conversations and training, so they can support others going through it.

Supporting someone affected by the menopause can help that person from:

  • losing confidence in their skills and abilities;
  • feeling like they need to take time off work and hide the reasons for it;
  • having increased mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression; and
  • leaving their job.

If an employee or worker is put at a disadvantage or treated less favourably because of their menopause symptoms, this could be classed as discriminatory if connected to a protected characteristic.

To support menopausal employees in the workplace, organisations should look to:

  • train managers so they have appropriate knowledge, and so staff feel confident to talk to their managers;
  • carry out health and safety checks to ensure menopause symptoms are not made worse by the workplace or its practices, and make any required changes;
  • develop a menopause policy to help staff feel supported, which should be shared across the organisation, is regularly reviewed and forms the basis for any training the organisation gives;
  • manage sickness absence and job performance by making changes to help staff continue to work, and take into consideration any performance issues which might be because of menopause symptoms;
  • have menopause and wellbeing champions to be a point of contact if staff need advice, or someone to initially talk to if they are not comfortable talking to their managers;
  • organise individual confidential conversations with staff affected by the menopause where they are comfortable and will not be disturbed.

Employees and menopause

Bupa created guidance in July 2022 for employees, to help themselves and support colleagues who are going through the menopause.

The guidance put emphasis on the fact that menopause is a natural event and no one going through menopause should feel isolated. The guidance included what employees should look to do to help themselves when going through the menopause:

  • recognise the symptoms, of which can be distressing at work;
  • understand the emotional impact of menopause, and how this can effect your work life;
  • talk openly at work;
  • discuss practical changes that could help you; and
  • when you should go to see your GP.

The guidance also includes lifestyle changes to help menopausal symptoms, including:

  • eat a healthy balanced diet including 700mg calcium and Vitamin D;
  • drink plenty of water;
  • exercise regularly to improve overall fitness, reduce hot flushes, sleep better and boost mood;
  • limit alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods;
  • stay cool at night;
  • take steps to help yourself sleep well;
  • use a hand or desk fan;
  • always have cold water or cooling mist spray to hand;
  • consider relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or CBT to reduce stress, help sleep and boost your mood.

For more information on this subject, see: