The menopause is associated with night sweats, sleep deprivation and even muddled thinking.
But the true cost of menopause is far higher and reaches into every area of life and has repercussions in both women's personal and professional lives, according to a survey of over 1000 women, of whom 80 per cent reported suffering from moderate to severe menopausal symptoms.
The survey found that despite women having more freedom and disposable income at midlife than previous generations, lack of both knowledge and effective treatment for menopause is draining them of money, happiness and productivity.
- 84% of respondents (equal to 8 million working women) said that their productivity at work was reduced.
- 75% of women feel their productivity is reduced for over a week every month. This equates to 280 million less productive work days per year in the UK.
- Surprisingly, only 20% take any time off work to deal with the symptoms.
The impact of menopause goes beyond the workplace and into the family
- 50% saying the menopause has caused stress and strain in their close relationships.
- 60% reported lower self-esteem, demoralised with a drop in confidence.
- Other symptoms reported include continual tiredness, insomnia, lack of libido, anxiety, brain fog, night sweats and hot flushes.
The survey also shows that finding relief from these symptoms is problematic with
- Over 32% of respondents spending more than £100 on over the counter remedies which had minimal impact on their symptoms.
- A further 13% spent more than £200 on treatments which also did not work.
- 27% spending more than £50 on prescription fees for drugs and hormones that also only scored 3 out of 10 for effectiveness.
The research was conducted by Maryon Stewart, author, campaigner and expert in women’s hormone health, who has been known for her work in this area of healthcare for over 25 years.
Maryon Stewart’s research coincides with a government study released this week called: The effects of menopause transition on women’s economic participation in the UK.’
In the study, four authors at the University of Leicester produced a comprehensive review of 104 publications published from 1990 to March 2016 on the effects of menopause symptoms on women, the workplace and the economy.
Fear of redundancy was an issue preventing over three-quarters (78%) of respondents in a TUC study disclosing menopause symptoms to their line managers for reasons including concern that managers would link their situation to performance at work (67% of those who had not disclosed) and embarrassment (35%). The authors acknowledge that there is a robust business case for employer intervention, especially in the UK, where few companies are helping women through this transition and where they are there is very little knowledge about whether organisational initiatives succeed.
Maryon Stewart says: ‘It has been widely thought that 8 out of 10 women will develop menopausal symptoms at some point due to a drop in oestrogen levels and for a quarter of these, symptoms will be more severe. What we are seeing though is much worse.
‘Being 50 should be a cause for celebration. Many women will have successfully navigated the major challenges in life such as career and family. They are at the peak of their powers, the height of their earning capacity and should feel confident about coping with life. Instead, we are seeing lost work days, a hit on the economy, relationships under strain and even breaking up and a whole cohort of women ARE living in misery.’
The problem, says Stewart, is an unwillingness of the majority of healthcare specialists to recognise the severity of the issue and look beyond prescribing drugs.
Maryon Stewart says: ‘A new more holistic approach to life is required to deal with the menopause and beyond. This survey clearly demonstrates that a significant number of menopausal women need help and yet have no effective relief other than pharmaceutical options – few GPs have the time or are knowledgeable about the natural approach to menopause including the importance of diet and yet nutritional deficiencies have a big impact on a person whether in menopause or beyond.’
- Maryon Stewart runs regular online free menopause workshops sharing the latest evidence based research on how to get through menopause naturally. Readers can sign up at www.maryonstewart.com/masterclass or visit www.maryonstewart.com where they can receive the first two chapters of her new book Beat Menopause the Natural Way.
- 1024 menopause-aged women took part in on-line survey (Spring 2017) carried out the Really Useful Health Company.
- The menopause is a natural event. Every woman will go through it at some point. It is common to develop one or more symptoms which are due to the low level of oestrogen. About 8 out of 10 women will develop menopausal symptoms at some point. Around a quarter of women have very severe symptoms. Symptoms of the menopause can last much longer than most women realise. More than half of women actually have symptoms for more than seven years. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Duration+of+menopausal+vasomotor+symptoms+JAMA+2015
- Potentially 8 million working women during the menopausal years - the number of people between the ages of 45-65. ONS mid-year statistics 2016
- 260 working days in a year in the UK Workday.co.uk
- 1024 participants took part in the survey.
About Maryon Stewart
- Maryon Stewart has been researching menopause for over 25 years devising personalised, targeted programmes with patients which have a 91% success rate in alleviating menopausal symptoms within 5 months. These results prove that a more personalized approach can be beneficial.
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