Article written by
Sandra Parish
Sandra is a registered mental health and general nurse with over 30 years’ experience, working in a variety of mental health and primary care settings in London and overseas.
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During Mental Health Awareness Week just spare a thought for peri and menopausal women who in healthcare make up 40% of NHS staff.

Symptoms of the menopause can include poor sleep, hot flushes, brain fog, poor memory loss of confidence and crippling anxiety one or all of those symptoms can have an enormous impact on the quality of life and of work. Quite often these personal issues are difficult to talk about in the workplace and not understood by managers. 10% of women will leave work in part because of the symptoms of the menopause. Quite frankly we can’t afford to lose all that experience in the health service.

When women finally get to the GP to talk about the symptoms they are often dismissed and not offered suitable Hormone Replacement Therapy that might help. Increasingly HRT is getting difficult to source with supplies running short across the UK (another Brexit benefit.)

In my personal experience I was offered antidepressants when I burst into tears in the surgery after months of sleepless nights and difficulties fully functioning at work. It took at least three attempts to get the help I needed. All my symptoms disappeared very quickly after HRT was started.

There is currently a huge debate about this very important health issue for women which is being taken up by the Health Secretary and other female MP’s who have had difficult personal experiences. I’m pleased to say that most Trusts are now recognising the need to support the workforce and policies are starting to be put into place.

How often do we talk to patients in our services about menopause? Would we know where to get the most up to date information? There are brilliant free resources available and

campaigners who have been talking openly about their personal difficulties; Davina McCall and BBC journalist Louise Minchin to name just two.

Follow the leading menopause doctor @drlouisenewson on twitter she also has a really useful website that offers comprehensive information on HRT and menopause education packages for healthcare professionals https://www.themenopausecharity.org/

It’s not just a hot flush ……