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Menopause should be discussed in workplace, says health leader

The chief medical officer has called for a workplace culture where women with menopause symptoms can discuss them to feel more comfortable at work and reduce sick leave.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer (CMO), said: “The menopause is a natural part of life, but it can feel like a great taboo.

"It is inexcusable that women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms should feel unable to discuss how they are feeling at work,” she added.

The average age of menopause is 51 and symptoms usually last between four and eight years, but they may persist for longer.

Menopausal symptoms include problems with memory and concentration, difficulty sleeping, and vasomotor symptoms described as sudden feelings of heat in the chest, neck and face, usually accompanied by skin redness and profuse perspiration and/or palpitations, and sometimes followed by shivering while body temperature returns to normal.

The CMO wants greater awareness of the menopause, flexible working hours, better access to support and improvements in workplace temperature, in order to ultimately encouraging menopausal women to stay in work.