One in 10 women who have worked during the menopause have left a job due to their symptoms, according to what is believed to be the largest survey of menopausal women conducted in the UK.
The research, which will feature in a new Channel 4 documentary, found that 14% of women had reduced their hours at work, 14% had gone part-time, and 8% had not applied for promotion.
Davina McCall: Sex, Mind And The Menopause will present findings from the survey of more than 4,000 women.
Finestripe Productions, which was commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the documentary, asked Savanta ComRes to conduct a representative survey of 4,014 UK women aged 45-55 who are currently or have previously experienced the perimenopause or the menopause.
The research was supported by the Fawcett Society, which has produced a report called Menopause And The Workplace.
The report said the research found that 10% of menopausal women who are or have been employed during the menopause have left their job due to their symptoms.
What else did the survey show?
It said that, mapped on to the total UK population of five million women aged 45-55, that would represent 333,000 women leaving their jobs due to the menopause.
A further 13% of menopausal women who have been employed during menopause have considered leaving their job, the report said.
Disabled women were more likely to have left work due to the menopause (22%), as were women who said they experienced five or more “very difficult” menopause symptoms (19%).
45% of women surveyed said they had not talked to someone at their GP practice about menopause
Among women with five or more severe symptoms, 29% had not spoken to their GP or a nurse
Some 31% of women surveyed agreed it took many appointments for their GP to realise they were experiencing the menopause or perimenopause, rising to 45% among women of colour and 42% among women with five or more severe symptoms
Just 39% of women who spoke to a GP or nurse said they had been offered HRT once they were diagnosed with menopause.
What does Hormone Replacement Therapy do?
HRT can help alleviate severe menopause symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, low mood, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
Prescriptions for HRT have more than doubled in England over the past five years, according to NHS data.
Figures from OpenPrescribing suggest nearly 538,000 prescriptions for HRT treatment were issued in December, compared with 238,000 in January 2017.
The British Menopause Society has advised medics to consider alternative HRT preparations for women who cannot get their usual stock of Oestrogel, including the gel Sandrena or the spray Lenzetto.
Other forms of HRT have also suffered a shortage as demand outstrips supply.
Increasing awareness of HRT and the role of celebrities in encouraging women not to suffer in silence has helped more women seek out treatment.
Davina McCall told the BBC’s Sunday Morning show that if there was a shortage of insulin or any other drug it would get “sorted out immediately”.
She also said GPs need to learn more about menopause, adding that women going to see their GP should go “armed with information”.
Davina McCall: Sex, Mind And The Menopause is on Channel 4 at 9pm on Monday.
Advice on how to combat HRT shortages and working while going through the menopause:
Don't go 'cold turkey' if it can be helped.
Asking your pharmacist what medications are available then speak to your doctor. Rather than have a doctor prescribe something that isn't available.
Request flexible working.
Requesting a different uniform if you are experiencing hot flushes.
Moving to a cooler part of the office or asking for a fan.
Using technology where it can help you, for example setting up reminders on your phone or taking more notes to help with 'brain fog'.
Menopause Cafés are spaces were people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss menopause.
Menopause Support provides private support via telephone and video consultations and bespoke menopause training and support solutions for businesses and organisations and menopause training days for therapists and well-being professionals.
The Menopause Charity works to improve women’s and healthcare professionals’ understanding of the menopause. If you or someone you know needs help, their information pages have plenty of information and ways to get in touch.