Menopause can be a difficult time for many individuals causing issues beyond a cessation of the menstrual cycle, many, of which can be very debilitating and disruptive. Tasks that were once simple can become complicated and cause anxiety and distress. However, the repercussions of Menopause can be far reaching for those around the individual, too, affecting relationships, friendships and employment.
In the UK, divorce rates are highest amongst couples aged 45-49 years around the average age for individuals who are experiencing peri or menopause. Symptoms like mood swings can lead to short tempers and may cause couples to argue more than in the past. Other symptoms like vaginal dryness can lower libido putting increased strain on the relationship. If the individual’s partner does not understand what she is experiencing this can lead to relationship breakdown.
Friendships can suffer in a similar way; modern society has conditioned people to look and act younger and defy the aging process to do so, so when menopause occurs an individual can be made to feel ashamed and isolated even though it is a natural part of life.
Individuals can struggle at work; the environment could irritate symptoms like hot flushes if there is limited ventilation or air conditioning; undertaking presentations or other public events could cause anxiety; brain fog can lead to poor memory and forgetting simple names or places, etc. This can all lead to embarrassment and avoidance behaviour, which can lead to increased sickness and in extreme cases, resignation for the workforce.
Communication is the key to helping all parties. Talking about worries, anxieties and other symptoms can aid understanding and promote a supportive, caring environment. Partners, friends, families, employers all have a role supporting individuals.
According to the UK census of 2021, 51% of the population are female. All will experience Menopause at some time in their lives, all will have friends and families, most will have been or are in employment. It is essential Menopause becomes a part of mainstream conversations protecting relationships and the workforce.
Newson, L. (2019) Menopause
Anon, (2023) Menopause. www.relate.org.uk/menopause
Murray, C, (2020) The Impact of the Menopause on Relationships. www.wellbeing.org
Murphy, J. (2021) Maintaining Friendships During Menopause Mood Swings. www.saga.co.uk
Anon, (2023) Menopause Matters – Menopause in the Workplace. www.menopausematters.co.uk
Anon, 2021) Male & Female Populations. www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk
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