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Living with menopause in and out of the workplace

October 18, 2022

Menopause, and its effects, are unique to the individual and symptoms can be very significant and challenging to deal with. Alongside someone's personal life, menopause can have a big impact on workplace productivity and relationships.

To build awareness around World Menopause Day 2022, Semble spoke with Online Menopause Centre (OMC) about the impact of menopause in and out of the workplace. 

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Here's a breakdown of how menopause can impact you on a day-to-day basis 

At work 
  • Often you can struggle to sleep at night, leaving you fatigued. 
  • On a commute, alongside fatigue, you can be prone to headaches that last the entire journey. 
  • You can find the office stuffy which leads to frequent hot flushes. Leading you to feel self-conscious. 
  • After turning fifty you find yourself needing to use the bathroom more frequently and more urgently, causing anxiety about the impression this may have on colleagues.
Outside of work 
  • Your mood can change erratically. Finding yourself often irritable can impact personal relationships. 
  • You can notice your hair starting to thin, impacting how you feel about your appearance. 
  • You may often end the day feeling low. Hoping finally for a good night's sleep. 

Treatment of Menopause

Hormone replacement therapy

After careful assessment, symptoms of hormonal imbalances and deficiencies can be treated with hormone replacement. There are different types of hormone replacement therapy that should only be prescribed by trained prescribers.  

Nutrition recommendations 
  • Good fats are your hormone's “best friends” - studies have shown that ‘good fats’, particularly the essential fatty acids Omega-3, are particularly beneficial for cognitive function. Think wild oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon and anchovies. Plant-based options are chia seeds, flaxseeds, avocado, nuts, such as almonds and Brazil nuts, and extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Natural probiotics – menopause can lead to low stomach acid causing foods to be only partially digested. This can lead to food fermentation in the gut, consequently causing issues such as disrupted gut microbiota (the good bacteria in the gut), gut inflammation and food intolerances. Incorporate natural probiotics into your diet for a healthy gut, including dairy kefir, water kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi. 
  • Foods to avoid – try to remove hot and spicy foods from your diet, caffeine, alcohol and smoking to reduce hot flushes. Keep hydrated and particularly in the summer drink “cooling herbal waters” (add cucumber and mint to mineral water and drink throughout the day). 
Lifestyle recommendations 
  • Manage stress – Practising controlled breathing twice daily has been shown to reduce hot flushes significantly. 
  • Create a sleep ritual – turn your bedroom into a calm and nurturing space and use the bedroom only for sleep or pleasant activities such as light reading, listening to calm music, meditating or having sex. 
  • Avoid screens – try not to watch TV or use your computer, iPad, and mobile phone at least 1 hour before bedtime as the blue light they emit can decrease melatonin production affecting sleep. 
  • Avoid alcohol intake – reduce or avoid alcohol, especially in the evenings, and don’t drink caffeine after 2 pm as it’s a stimulant that can stay in your system for several hours. 
  • Learn new skills – look after your cognitive health by learning a new skill, but also by managing stress, sleeping well, and staying hydrated. 
  • Eat mindfully – digestion starts in the brain and mouth, so remember to chew your food very well. 
  • Embrace the menopause – menopause is truly a transformative and empowering stage of a woman’s life, it is the time to prioritise yourself and do what makes you happy!