A small word for something that entails so much.
The ‘Davina effect’ if you will, has caused a movement towards menopause care and education over the past year or so. It has become a household topic, a conversation between employers and employees and an answer that many women have been seeking for.
We see many women at some point of their menopause journey and our nurses can tell you that no two women are the same. Symptom type and severity differ across everyone – some may sail through with no symptoms and others may unfortunately face debilitating symptoms affect day-to-day activities.
World Menopause Day (WMD) marks a day of raising awareness of the menopause to improve the health, future and well-being for women in mid-life. It is encouraged to educate others and support women who may be feeling lost. In this blog, we write about WMD means to us, this years theme and what support there is. To answer these, we spoke to two of our very own nurses: Karen Black RN (our specialist menopause nurse) and Ellen Hart RN (our Nu-V Nurse who also sees women for the menopause)
Why is World Menopause Day important?
“Women should have access to information that helps them understand both the physiological and psychological effects of the menopause, the associated health implications and the treatment options available. They are then able to make informed choices about their health, acting as an advocate for themselves to ensure they receive the correct support at the right time for them.” Says Ellen.
Whilst helping women take charge of their health, we need to take note that educating men, organisations and workplaces is also fundamental. Menopause can affect relationships and work.
A family law firm – Stowe Family Law – carried out a study found that 65% of women stated that their perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms affected their marriage/relationship . Just under 50% of women also felt that if they had had support from the NHS during the menopause, it could have prevented their relationship from ending! 
When it comes to the workplace, In 2019, a survey by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) reported that 3 in 5 menopausal women were negatively affected at work . Almost two thirds of participants said they were less able to concentrate and nearly a third needed to take sick leave due to their symptoms . This is not only a concern for women themselves, but for employers too.
The findings above tell us a story. For every woman affected by the menopause, it is not only her who is affected. It’s her family, her relationship, her job. So this is why days such as WMD are important – to demonstrate that it is everybody’s problem – not only a woman who has to ‘deal’ or ‘put up’ with her symptoms during the menopause transition.
Mood and Cognition
“We have oestrogen receptors throughout our brain, but especially in the areas important for memory and learning and so lowering oestrogen levels can affect memory and concentration, resulting in memory loss and brain fog.” This can explain the group of psychological symptoms including difficulty in concentrating or remember things, losing a trail of thoughts and poor memory. Ironically, it is quite literally all in your head!
Can HRT help with cognition and mood?
There have been several studies that demonstrate that prolonged oestrogen exposure leads to better cognitive outcomes. So essentially, giving women oestrogen during this transition can make a difference with memory and how they are feeling. However, a lot more research needs to be done in this area
“Women can also find their sleep improves as a result of the mild sedative effect it can produce. However, it is also important to mention that there can be other factors that are impacting on psychological changes and these should be explored too. Cognitive behavioural therapy may also be a beneficial treatment option to explore with some women.”
Regarding premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), “there is some data that suggests there may be an improvement in cognitive function with the use of HRT in women with POI (reaching the menopause before the age of 40). However, a lot more research still needs to be done to support this but it will be interesting to follow any findings from such studies” says Ellen
How we can help
2 CIPD, “Majority of working women experiencing the menopause say it has a negative impact on them at work | CIPD”, accessed 15 October 2022
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The ability to speak to someone who was not only knowledgeable, but sympathetic and completely understanding of the menopause was brilliant. The GP and NHS are superb, but they have limited time and resources for this issue, so having alternative option available has been an absolute godsend.
I was extremely happy with my appointment , Katy [Pitt Allen] was brilliant 🤩 I’m so excited about the suggested changes to my HRT and she was very informative and understanding of my problems . I would definitely recommend . Thanks Katy