MEMORY loss, brain fog, anxiety and loss of libido – just some symptoms many are unaware are caused by the menopause.
The era in a woman’s mid-life is often simplified as “loss of periods and hot flushes”.
But it’s so much more than that, causing an average of seven ailments for each woman, often for several years before and after periods stop.
There are, according to MedicalNewsToday, 34 common symptoms reported by women, including sleep problems, panic disorder, and "electric shock sensations".
But doctors say around 40 have been identified. Some women experience half a dozen while others are lucky enough to have one or two.
The plummeting levels of oestrogen are known to affect various parts of the body – the joints, brain, hair, skin, and more.
In a bid to decode the menopause, workplaces are now offering training for men, whose wives, mums, sisters and colleagues will be going through the menopause.
Menopause doesn’t just have an effect on women's lives, although it can appear that way on the surface.
It can put pressure on romantic relationships, family life, finances and even more broadly, the NHS and economy.
Julia Frost is a training adviser running menopause courses for men at South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
She and her colleagues were running sessions for women in September 2020, the Daily Mail reports.
But then she and her manager Sharon Olliver, who were both having hot flushes, “felt it important our male colleagues understood the impact of these”.
The pair quickly realised sessions held by men, for men, had more appeal “because men would be embarrassed talking about female matters with women present”.
The first Menopause for Men sessions began in April 2021, with the workshop attracting ten men.
Julia said: “At first, they were a little awkward, not knowing what to expect — I think they thought they were walking into the lion’s den!
“But once we got going, they all participated really well.
“Some had wives, partners or mothers who were going through the menopause, and we had some great feedback. We give the facts: what symptoms are, how it can affect behaviour, how they can support.”
Julia said the idea of the courses is to help demystify the menopause and encourage men to understand the science behind it, as well as how it affects women's daily life.
Dan Fawkes, 40, head of leadership and improvement at the Trust, signed up to one of the first sessions.
He said: “I was aware most women who go through the menopause experience hot flushes and also some emotional highs and lows.
“But I was surprised to learn about other symptoms — for example, I had no idea about brain fog. It gave me far more understanding.
“The most important thing was learning to be a more understanding manager.”
Menopause training for men is also running at Sefton Borough Council on Merseyside, since August 2020.
Course leader Amy Barnes said: “Women valued having the chance to talk to others going through the same experiences. They also felt they were being heard at last by men.”
The seminars have been accessed by more than 650 employees, 131 of them men.
Men said early on they felt “uncomfortable attending with such a large female presence”- and so men-only sessions were set up, which improved turnout.
Amy said: “I was struck by the honesty of some of the men who openly admit feeling ignorant around the whole subject, or embarrassed that they had never bothered to learn anything about it.”
In October, The Sun launched the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign to raise awareness and break the taboo around the subject.
It's calling on all workplaces to have a policy in place to give employees an easier journey through the menopause while working.
In a massive win for the campaign, the cost of medicine HRT was drastically cut for women in England.
The Government backed a "menopause revolution" as ministers pledged to cut the cost of repeat prescriptions of HRT after MP Carolyn Harris introduced the initial bill.
The 34 symptoms
The 34 symptoms of menopause is a list of common symptoms that many females report, according to MedicalNewsToday.
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Mood changes
- Breast soreness
- Decreased libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Tingling extremities
- Burning mouth
- Changes in taste
- Other digestive changes like constipation
- Joint pain
- Muscle tension and aches
- Electric shock sensations
- Sleep disturbance
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory lapses
- Thinning hair
- Brittle nails
- Weight gain
- Stress incontinence
- Dizzy spells
- Irregular heartbeat
- Body odour
- Panic disorder
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