Research carried about by Nuffield Health shows that more than two-thirds of women feel that there is a general lack of support and understanding about menopause, and 72% of women say that they feel unsupported at work – with 1 in 5 women noting that menopause and its symptoms have negatively affected their work.
If menopause is disrupting your life, then speaking to other people about it might not always feel easy. Perhaps you’re worried that people won’t understand or will judge you, thinking you’re being dramatic. Or maybe it’s a sensitive topic for you, and you’re worried about getting upset if you try to talk to anyone about it.
While this is perfectly understandable, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t have to struggle in silence. Your GP can help you explore how to best manage your symptoms, your partner or friends and family members will often be able to offer emotional support, and your employer might be able to make suitable adjustments to your working conditions.
If the idea of speaking to others about your experience with menopause feels too overwhelming, then try starting small – for example, by making an appointment with your GP. When you phone up to make your appointment, it’s worth asking if you can see the doctor who is most experienced in menopausal matters. It’s also worth making a note of all your symptoms and anything you’d like to discuss before you go – so that you don’t forget anything if you feel nervous or anxious.
Sometimes, having a doctor confirm and validate your symptoms can make talking to people at home and work about how menopause is affecting you feel easier.
Alternatively, if you’d rather not speak to your GP, or would prefer to speak to someone with expert knowledge on all things menopause, then you could consider seeing a menopause specialist. You can find a list of menopause specialists recognised by the British Menopause Society (BMS) here.
Once you start speaking to people around you about menopause that is impacting your life, you will probably find that other women in your life might have had, or are currently having, similar experiences to you. There can be a lot of comfort in realising that you’re not alone, and being able to swap feelings and advice with someone who’s in a similar position. Although menopause can often feel like a great taboo, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be.
If you don’t feel that you have any family or friends that you can talk to about menopause (or even if you do), then you might find it helpful to join a menopause support group. Meetup.com has a list of menopause support groups currently in operation around the UK – so it’s worth having a look to see if you can find a group near you. If not, then you could consider starting your own. There’s likely to be plenty of women in your local area looking for advice and support too.