Research from Newson Health shows symptoms force women to leave their jobs or pass up
The Wellbeing of Women Charity Launches Workplace Menopause Policy Campaign.
Lack of support for women in the workplace who are going through the menopause is forcing many to take time off work or even leave their jobs, research suggests.
A survey of 3,800 women in the UK for Newson Health Research and Education found that the majority felt perimenopause and menopause had a significant affect on their careers.
In a 12-question survey, 99% of women felt their perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms led to a negative impact on their careers, with more than a third describing the impact as significant.
Around 59% took time off work due to symptoms and 18% were off for more than eight weeks.
Reasons for taking time off included reduced efficiency (45%), poor quality of work (26%) and poor concentration (7%).
Half of those who took at least eight weeks off work resigned or took early retirement.
One in five women passed on the chance to go for a promotion they would have otherwise considered, 19% reduced hours and 12% resigned.
The majority of women surveyed (60%) said their workplace offered no menopause support.
Of those who were given a sick note, only 5% said menopause was cited on their certificate, while more than a third had anxiety and stress documented.
One in four women discussed their hormones with their GP, with 30% prescribed antidepressants. This is despite guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence saying low mood due to the menopause can be treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or cognitive behavioural therapy.
Menopause expert Dr Newson from the not for profit organisation, said: "For far too long menopausal women have been faced with an impossible choice: struggle on with often debilitating symptoms or leave behind careers they have worked so hard for.
"The average age of menopause in the UK is 51, at precisely the point where many women are at the peak of their careers with an abundance of skills and experience to offer.
"The problem is widespread, including at the heart of healthcare. Some 77% of the NHS workforce are women and a significant number of these will be perimenopausal and menopausal. In fact, research shows that only one in 10 female GPs had discussed their symptoms with a manager.
"The issues raised in this survey show not only an urgent need to improve menopause support in the workplace but access to evidence-based menopause information and treatment to ease and improve symptoms. We owe this to all menopause women to help them reach their career potential."
Earlier this month, the Wellbeing of Women charity called on companies to ensure they are supporting employees through menopause. So far, 100 employers have pledged to include menopause policies for women in the workplace. A charity spokesperson said: "It's great to see organisations taking the issue of menopause seriously. Making sure women are supported through the menopause can lead to greater employee happiness, wellbeing, and productivity and ensure a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Symptoms can include: anxiety, brain fog, poor concentration, fatigue, hot flushes, and irregular and heavy bleeding. as well as joint and muscle pain and headaches.
Read more about the Newson Health Research and Education survey here: https://www.balance-menopause.com/news/menopause-at-work-survey-results-published/
Read more about the Wellbeing of Women Workplace Pledge here: https://www.wellbeingofwomen.org.uk/campaigns/menopausepledge