The potential impact of the menopause on some women’s working lives is outlined in new research among Britain’s female doctors.
A poll of women medics by the British Medical Association (BMA), taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, reveals that the physical and mental impact it is having on some of them has meant a significant change to their working lives.
The survey also reveals a lack of support for many and a huge reluctance to discuss the problem with mangers and colleagues.
There are fears that these types of issues are commonplace not just across the medical profession but throughout many industries and sectors.
90% Symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, loss of confidence and debilitating hot flushes affected their ability to work
38% The impact is ‘significant’
More than a third of respondents say they wanted to make changes to their working lives as a result of menopause but couldn’t and almost half said they wanted to discuss the topic with their manager but did not feel comfortable.
“There are very few older women left at my senior level in my traditional profession”
“If I mentioned my perimenopausal symptoms, I would be stigmatised and disrespected as someone who was no longer rational or capable I suffer attacks of low confidence which makes me question my worth and ability to do my job”
‘When coupled with the symptoms, I have often felt like giving up. We would need a change in culture, not just in the NHS, but nationally, to support all working women during this time.”
Typical responses to the survey
The BMA is calling for employers to take a proactive approach to the topic of menopause, to make is easier to talk about and to make sure staff know signposting to support is available.
It wants to see more flexible working, workplace adjustments and more support for mental health and wellbeing across the country.
Dr Helena McKeown, BMA Representative Body Chair, said: “Menopause is still a taboo subject in many workplaces and that includes the medical profession. Many women feel uncomfortable discussing their needs with their managers.
The survey clearly shows that this is a significant problem within the medical profession.
Doctors are aware of these issues for their patients, so it’s time to extend this awareness to an improved, more sympathetic working for doctors experiencing this themselves.”