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Need to ask your boss for menopause leave? Here are 5 tips directly from an expert

  • Written by Natasha Andreadis, Women’s Health Expert and Reproduction Educator

The stage of life called menopause is when a woman’s reproductive hormone production begins to change, marking a significant new milestone in our lives. The beginning of menopause, otherwise known as perimenopause, typically occurs in your 40s-50s and for most women, is accompanied by symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats.

In the workplace, menopause symptoms may also have an impact upon a woman’s career and professional abilities. New research by integrated women’s healthcare brand Flordis Femular® has found that 1 in 5 (18%) Australian women have had to adjust their work life to deal with the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, sweating, sleeplessness, mood swings, irritability, mild anxiety and joint pain.

Furthermore, the research also found that 4 out of 10 women needed to take extra time off work to cope with the symptoms and nearly two thirds required additional doctor’s appointments within work hours. However, despite the significant number of women needing to adjust their work lives to cope with menopause, almost half of the women surveyed (46%) reported that they did not feel comfortable speaking openly to their manager or colleagues about their menopause symptoms.

As women in the workplace, it is vital for our health that we feel confident and comfortable enough to discuss the impacts of our menopause symptoms with those around us, regardless of whether that’s a healthcare practitioner, our managers, co-workers or loved ones.

If you’re finding that you’re having to deal with menopause symptoms in the workplace, here are 5 tips from a Women’s Health Expert on how to discuss this with your boss and take any menopause leave you might require:

1. Be honest: Really, the simplest thing you can do if you’re struggling in the office with any health issue is to be upfront and honest. Don’t try to hide your symptoms or feel pressure to at like nothing is wrong. If you’re honest and upfront from the get-go about how you’re feeling, then you and your manager or co-workers can start the discussion on the same page. Remember, you don’t need to tell your boss about specific symptoms you’re facing, but at least providing an indication of what’s happening will be helpful in guiding conversations with your team.

2. Don’t feel embarrassed: Menopause still has a lot of stigma, and many women may feel embarrassed to ask for the support and leave they need. However, remember that menopause is a natural stage of life, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to take the appropriate steps to look after your health and wellbeing. If you are worried that colleagues may not take you seriously, ensure you educate them as much as possible to help bring them onto the same page.

3. Seek out credible information: Following on from the above, a great place to start when educating the people around you about menopause is by providing them with credible resources that will educate them about this life stage. There is lots of information floating around online and in the media about menopause. If you’re finding it difficult to explain what you’re going through to those around you, seek out credible, well-researched resources by doctors and healthcare practitioners, that can give you the information you need to make well-informed choices and help communicate effectively with your team.

4. Ask for a letter of support from you GP or healthcare practitioner: If you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of menopause, you may want to visit a healthcare practitioner for advice and possible treatment pathways. A GP may also be able to help you determine whether you need to ask to ask your employer for extra menopause leave, and they may provide you with a letter of support.

5. Understand that you don’t have ‘put up’ with symptoms: Many women might be under the impression that they just need to ‘put up’ with their menopause symptoms in the workplace or seek out unnecessary treatment options. The truth is, there are several options available to women to help relieve menopause symptoms in the workplace, including a naturally derived extract Ze-450. A clinically researched extract of the plant Actaea racemosa, these types of natural extracts can help relieve menopause symptoms that can be quite bothersome both in and outside the work environment. Know that you can get relief from your symptoms, and don’t need to sweat it in silence. Inform your team along the way and ask for their support in adjusting the work environment to be as menopause friendly as possible.

If you’re wondering what the best options for you might be, you may wish to consider seeking advice from a doctor or healthcare practitioner.

Menopause is a natural, transitional stage in women’s lives. However, it may also be a challenging experience for many women which impacts upon their health, wellbeing, and professional careers. It is important that we feel empowered and well-informed to speak about our menopause symptoms openly and make looking after our health and wellbeing a priority.

If you would like to learn more about menopause, visit: https://www.flordis.com.au/health-insights/menopause/

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