Menopause: statistics, symptoms & coping mechanisms 

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Health Assured team

28 June 2022

For most women, menopause will be a challenging period of life. Symptoms vary from person to person, but statistics show that these changes can lead to drastic shifts in daily living. What once were simple tasks may now become strenuous, mental health can decline, and physical symptoms have the potential to make work a struggle.

For a long time, menopause has remained taboo, a subject avoided in workplaces and misunderstood by many. But with new emerging research and conversations starting to open up, we’re now seeing just how big the impacts of menopause can be.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the statistics to learn more about menopause. We’ll also cover common symptoms and ways to look after yourself throughout menopause.

 

Menopause statistics 

It’s hard to understand the scope of menopause and its effects without going through it yourself. But diving into the statistics allows us a deeper insight into how many women are affected and what they experience.

  • 62% of women said the symptoms of menopause interfere with their quality of life¹.
  • Menopause symptoms can last up to 15 years².
  • Half of women with symptoms said they feel depressed, and more than a third said they suffer from anxiety³.
  • 90% of women get menopausal symptoms⁴.
  • 72% of women in work say they feel unsupported throughout menopause⁴.
  • It’s estimated that around 12 million women are going through or have reached menopause in the UK⁵.
  • 1 in 100 women in the UK experiences early menopause before the age of 40⁶.
  • 80% of women experience hot flushes during menopause⁷.

 

Menopause symptoms 

Menopause symptoms range among women. Some people will experience severe symptoms—some may get them few and far between. There’s no set rule, and symptoms can also change over time. Here are some common mental and physical symptoms:

  • Mood changes like anxiety, low mood, low self-esteem and mood swings
  • Problems with memory and concentration (brain fog)
  • Hot flushes (sudden feelings of hot or cold in the face and neck, which can cause dizziness)
  • Palpitations, suddenly noticeable heartbeats
  • Body shape changes or weight gain
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Intense headaches or migraines

 

Coping with menopause 

The myriad of mental and physical symptoms above are challenging to experience day in, day out. They can disrupt daily tasks, interfere with relationships, and play havoc with your peace. This disruption is no easy feat. So be gentle with yourself, it’s hard to adjust to these changes and find ways to manage them in your daily life. There’s no right or wrong way to go through this process. But we’ve put together some tools below that might help you cope.

 

Visit your GP

First things first, make sure you visit your GP if you are struggling with any of the symptoms above. They will be able to talk through your symptoms and explain them in more detail. Your GP may also be able to prescribe medication such as HRT, but this isn’t always suited to every case. It could be worth thinking and researching about HRT before you visit, as there are several side effects you may wish to consider.

But it’s not just HRT that your doctor can offer. You may also be able to access other treatments like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that will help you cope with mental symptoms such as anxiety, low self-esteem, and low mood.

 

Makes supportive lifestyle changes 

As with all of life’s difficulties, we’re more able to manage troubled times when we take care of the basics. Looking after mental and physical health goes a long way toward coping with thoughts, emotions, feelings and physical symptoms. Prioritise your health with the steps below:

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet rich in vitamin D and calcium for bone health.
  • Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Drink at least 2 litres of water each day.
  • Do some form of exercise daily.
  • Wearing lighter clothing or easily removable layers to help with hot flushes. 
  • Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol can also aid anxiety if this is a symptom you are experiencing. 

 

Reach out to others

It can be hard to open up to others about personal issues. But sharing how you feel helps others understand and support you. It helps you normalise what you’re going through with the people around you and yourself too. It also provides an avenue to release some of the difficult and confusing emotions you might be going through.

Menopause Matters is a website that offers a plethora of information and a forum where you can chat with other women who are going through the same experiences. Remember—you are not alone. Talking to others allows you to share tips, tricks and stories. 

 

Make time for self care

Managing life, work, finances and looking after loved ones on top of menopause symptoms can take its toll. In times of stress and change, there’s an increased risk of burnout—a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Make self-care time a priority to protect yourself from burnout. Try incorporating some extra time into your schedule with a morning walk, soothing bath or an hour of reading. These peaceful moments go a long way to supporting your mental health.

 

Helpful menopause resources 

NHS Menopause – Helpful information on symptoms, treatments and support.

Women’s Health Concern – Advice and information on women’s health issues.

Menopause and Me – A website dedicated to supporting women through menopause.

 

Health Assured offers specialist menopause support

If you have an Employee Assistance Programme in place with us at Health Assured, remember that our helpline is available 24/7, 365. Our counsellors have experience in helping people with menopause. They can provide a listening ear when you find you're struggling. 

If you're an employer looking to support employees in the workplace, we can provide Menopause workshops to educate your staff and managers. Armed with this knowledge, they can start to reduce stigma and increase support. 

References

¹ https://nationalmenopausefoundation.org/

² https://menopausesupport.co.uk/?page_id=60

³ https://www.nuffieldhealth.com/article/one-in-four-with-menopause-symptoms-concerned-about-ability-to-cope-with-life

https://local.gov.uk/our-support/workforce-and-hr-support/wellbeing/menopause/menopause-factfile

https://www.tuc.org.uk/research-analysis/reports/menopause-and-workplace#footnote10_kh993ub

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6459071/  

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