Helping organisations change their culture around menopause with Sarah Davies, Talking Menopause

Sarah Davies is an experienced business coach and trainer who previously spent over 15 years in senior international corporate roles and as a head-hunter for senior executives. Sarah supported her sister, Dr Louise Newson, as business manager, six years ago when Newson Health menopause clinic was launched. Seeing how devastating the consequences of the menopause affect personal and professional lives, Sarah set up Talking Menopause to educate and support men and women across all levels on the impact of menopause at work. 

In this episode, Louise and Sarah look back on starting their respective journeys into menopause care and support services, and discuss the real-life impact of the perimenopause and menopause in the workplace. Sarah shares some of the outcomes of her workshops and webinars and describes how Talking Menopause stimulates cultural change within organisations.

Sarah’s advice to workplaces:

  1.  Everyone should be aware of the peri/menopause and respond to it as a normal process for their employees and their partners.
  2.  Consider the practical side; where is the safe space for women to escape to? What are the practical solutions for women suffering at work?

And to women at work:

  •  Don’t suffer in silence, talk to a friendly colleague, download the balance app and go and see your healthcare professional if you’re not getting the right level of support. There’s a lot of help out there.

You can learn more about Sarah’s work here.

Episode Transcript

Dr Louise Newson [00:00:09] Hello. I’m Dr Louise Newson and welcome to my podcast. I’m a GP and menopause specialist and I run the Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre here in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I’m also the founder of the Menopause Charity and the menopause support app called balance. On the podcast, I will be joined each week by an exciting guest to help provide evidence-based information and advice about both the perimenopause and the menopause.

Dr Louise Newson [00:00:46] So today with me, I have someone I’ve known actually all my life. She’s my older sister, so older and wiser, you might say, and she’s been working in the background in menopause for a while but never trained as a doctor. We have very different backgrounds, very different qualifications. But now she works pretty much all the time about the menopause, which we’ll talk about in a minute. So it’s my sister, Sarah Davies. So hi, Sarah, thanks for joining me today.

Sarah Davies [00:01:12] Hello. Good to be here. Thank you.

Dr Louise Newson [00:01:15] So you’re three years older than me, and a lot of people think I’m older because I’m far more boring and all I do is work and all I’ve ever done is work. Whereas you’re far more interesting and sociable than me. So obviously I went off to medical school. I don’t think we’ve got anyone in our family who’s medical have we? Who’s medically trained?

Sarah Davies [00:01:32] No not at all.

Dr Louise Newson [00:01:33] So I sort of went off. We’ve always been very respectful of each other’s careers and what we’ve done with our lives. But then a few years ago, I was setting up my clinic, and as many of you know, I set it up privately because I wanted to get some of my friends off antidepressants and I couldn’t get a job in the NHS. So I was working just one day a week in a local hospital, and I needed someone to help me. So I reached out to you to say, ‘Is there any way you can help me? Obviously, you live nowhere near me, and how can we make this work?’. And at the time, I don’t know that you knew much about the menopause, and you said, ‘Yeah, I’ll help you’. And then the rest is history if you like.

Sarah Davies [00:02:14] I know, I often quote that one conversation we had literally sitting around your kitchen table and it was so out of the blue and you said, ‘I’m going to set up a menopause clinic’ and it was, ‘Oh, OK, fine. And what does that really mean?’ And I remember within 20 minutes, we had literally mapped out the patient experience do you remember a flowchart of how it would work. And yes, you’re right, I knew very little about menopause. My background is corporate life. I’ve always massively admired you as a doctor, and I remember you always being impressed with my linguistic skills, which I thought was crazy given the amount you have to remember as a doctor. And I often remember sitting in my oak pannelled office as a head-hunter in London, and I remember phoning you in the lunch breaks and you were rushing around doing your home visits as a GP and thinking, ‘I really want to give more back to society’. And without realising at the time, my work with menopause has really done that. And I think that was even an eye opener for you, wasn’t it? Who knew so much about menopause, but the actual extent of the suffering worldwide. I mean, obviously I focused mainly on the UK. It was just so shocking and very quickly – do you remember we weren’t sure whether people were going to turn up at the clinic? And then before too long, there were women borrowing money from families or friends driving up from Cornwall, down from Scotland to see you.

Dr Louise Newson [00:03:38] And yeah, I think it was really shocking, actually, because I just wanted to help some local friends. I’ve been a medical writer as well as a doctor for many years, and I set up the Menopause Doctor website, as you know, and that stemmed from a very good family friend, Anthony Galley, who we went out for lunch, didn’t we? In London, I’d just been awarded the fellowship of the Royal College of GP’s, went out for family lunch, and he said didn’t he, ‘You should set up your own website’. And I just went, ‘Er, really, Anthony, I don’t know how to do that.’ And then the next day, I got this link to menopausedoctor.co.uk and we’d already started! So I’d worked very hard on that, and then I’d sort of launched the clinic and I only wanted to do one day. And I remember we opened it in the August time.

Sarah Davies [00:04:20] Yeah.

Dr Louise Newson [00:04:21] And my birthday’s in August. I remember our mother saying, ‘Well, you’re not very busy, are you? And you’ve got one patient and you’ve got none the week after’ and I said, ‘Well, that’s fine. I don’t really want many people. I just want a few people who maybe can’t get the HRT that they should have, maybe from their GP or the right advice’. And then suddenly you kept saying, ‘Louise, it’s getting busy. These people are phoning’. And this was all before COVID. We did no remote consultations.

Sarah Davies [00:04:45] Must be about six years ago now.

Dr Louise Newson [00:04:45] Yeah, it was because the NICE menopause guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, came out just over six years ago, and it was after that I opened it. And so, then I remember you kept phoning me and saying ‘There’s this lady who sounds really, really desperate. Who’s really upset’. And I said, ‘Well, I’ll get her in’. And then I increased to two days a week, and the stories that we were hearing were very different to any stories that I’d heard in general practice. Because in general practice, obviously, I’m in control of my patients and any that were suffering I would try and sort them out very quickly so there was not any of this suffering. And so I remember actually the notebook that I had and I used to write quotes on it and I’d go home to Paul, my husband, and say, ‘Someone’s just told me they have no joy in their life, that they have left their partner and that they’ve stopped working because they can’t concentrate’. And I had no idea that women were suffering in this way. And you didn’t either, did you?

Sarah Davies [00:05:45] No, not at all, and actually now sitting here now, reflecting back on that time, there were two stories that just sprung to mind, and one was a lady who called me about her partner and she was at her wit’s end, and I remember her saying, ‘Yeah, my female partner is really struggling. She’s almost – she’s so, so low and depressed. She’s almost suicidal’. And we helped her. But thankfully, she had such a supportive partner who knew really nothing about menopause, either. And she was so grateful for the effort we made. And then there was somebody else I remember who had actually been admitted to a psychiatric hospital who just should not have been there, and she knew she shouldn’t be there. But she was guided by medical staff and felt she had no other option and then as it unravelled and then you and I realised that we were both perimenopausal, didn’t we? Which I put my symptoms, which like a number of women – I think it’s about 30%, isn’t it? I’ve never had a hot flush in my life, but mine was very much anxiety. I felt exhausted, wading through treacle the whole time. Brain fog, very erratic. But like most women, because everybody, male and female, are on that crazy treadmill of life, thought that it was the pressures of life and my periods had got really heavy for about four years. Two days a month could hardly go out of the house, but of course, I was waiting for them to stop, not get heavier. And it was Sophie wasn’t it? Your then, was she 12-year-old daughter?

Dr Louise Newson [00:07:14] Yes.

Sarah Davies [00:07:15] Yeah, who joined the dots for you?

Dr Louise Newson [00:07:17] Yeah. And I just got my notebook here actually and the first lady I saw, said she had 15 consultations related to her menopause in the past 18 months. She was at her wit’s end. She had bought a notebook and documented everything during the consultation because her brain was so bad, she couldn’t remember anything. And then she came back three months later and she felt wonderful. I put here ‘her friends, noticed a huge difference, and her partner said, I wish she’d done this years ago’, and she put ‘I do not like what this has made me’. And you know, it’s really, really awful. So we started doing this.

Dr Louise Newson [00:07:53] And then I remember you helped me write some notes up because I went to go and see the then chair of the Royal College of GP’s, Helen Stokes Lampard – amazing lady – to say ‘Helen I’m really, really worried that women are having to pay to come and see me because they can’t get evidence based treatment on the NHS in the form of HRT’. And a lot of women, as you quite rightly say, can’t afford to come. They shouldn’t pay. I should not be running a private clinic, but also I was starting to hear stories of women going to other private clinics where they were not getting treatment. A lot of them were getting compounded bioidentical hormones, which are neither licensed nor regulated. And I said to her, ‘I’m really worried, actually, because women are struggling’. And at that time, I had tried to get HRT from my local GP and I had been refused. And I said, ‘Look, if I can’t get HRT, what about women who aren’t speaking English as a first language, who aren’t educated? How are they struggling?’ And she was very, very lovely, but looked at me and said, ‘But you’ve got a hidden agenda almost. You know, you’re wanting to promote your clinic with this work’. And I said, ‘I’m really struggling because I really want to help education. I want the college to be involved in education, and I want women to be listened to’. And you know, and I understand for her, she had never heard these stories because she’s a really fantastic GP. So that was six years ago. I’d love to say that the Royal College is doing a lot of menopause education, and sadly, they’re not. I’d like to say that we’re not seeing women who can’t afford to come to my clinic and I can’t. I’d love to say that I’ve closed my clinic, but I can’t.

Sarah Davies [00:09:30] Or you are just focusing on very extreme cases, very complicated health conditions.

Dr Louise Newson [00:09:35] Absolutely.

Sarah Davies [00:09:35] Which is really what you want to be doing.

Dr Louise Newson [00:09:38] Which we are, as specialists but we’re still not. I’d love to say it’s just me working in the clinic, but we have 80 clinicians working in the clinic and we see over 3000 women a month. And I’d love to say that we can see everyone that we want to. But I can’t even do that because our waiting list is thousands. And obviously, I’m doing a lot of other education work. As you know, through my not-for-profit company, we founded the charity, we’ve got the balance app.

Sarah Davies [00:10:02] Yep.

Dr Louise Newson [00:10:02] And I’m also working as an NHS adviser. But it’s not quick enough is it, for these women who are suffering every single day?

Sarah Davies [00:10:10] No and not when you think it’s six years we’ve been involved in the world of menopause, it’s a long time. And yes, you know, we were just saying before we started, there isn’t a day that goes by at the moment without a menopause story in the media, which is absolutely wonderful. Even Nicola Sturgeon was talking openly about her menopause, which is really fantastic to have those role models. But when we look down to those raw basics of the webinars I’m running day in, day out and my colleagues, the problem is still there, that accessibility to the right treatment and also that knowledge and awareness. For example, every time I say in webinars – and I’ve said it thousands of times now, very sadly and shockingly – the average medical professional, and average GP’s have very little or no menopause training, which is not them personally necessarily to blame. It’s the system and the medical training. But I’m so shocked that I even have to say that because also I’ve worked in customer services internationally for 12 years, as you know, and if other service organisations provided such a poor level of service to such a huge client base, i.e. at some point fifty% of the population, it would be all over the press. Something would be done about it. And that’s as basic as it gets, really. And that’s what I really, really struggle to understand. You know, I, as you said, again I’m not a medic, but a lot of our sessions that we run for women only employees in the workplace is helping them really prepare for their perimenopause and menopause, be equipped with the right level of information, signposting them to balance, to really make sure that they have that knowledge and education to have that toolkit when they go and see their GP, for example, and have that confidence to be able to say, ‘I’ve done my research, I’ve got the symptom checker, I’m an average age – or might not be because we know it affects so many younger women as well – please, could you consider me for this being menopause? And please, could I discuss my options?’

Dr Louise Newson [00:12:15] Yeah. So just for those people listening, obviously, you don’t work for the clinic anymore because when I moved my clinic to Stratford-Upon-Avon three years ago, you’re down in Bristol. I needed people in so I couldn’t… But I decided to sort of introduce you to someone who had worked with West Midlands Police because at the time I was working with West Midlands Police and it was very interesting, actually. So West Midlands Police are the second biggest police force in the UK and someone called Linda Bailey reached out to me just as a random email to say, ‘Could you come and talk? We’ve got a menopause support group at work’. So I thought this would be interesting and I went to go and listen and they were the most – they still are – the most amazing group of women, about 20 of them sitting around an oval table, and they were all just sharing their stories and they were all talking about how they’d reduce their hours, how a lot of them had stopped doing shift work, how they were looking forward to their retirement. When they were 50, they were going to take early retirement. They were going to be with their grandchildren and whatever. But they couldn’t really take the grandchildren to the park because their joints were stiff and sore, they had no energy. They were drinking lots of wine, and I sat there and thought what’s going on? They’re all menopausal, and most of them were on antidepressants.

Sarah Davies [00:13:27] Yeah.

Dr Louise Newson [00:13:27] So when I said to them, ‘What about HRT?’ ‘Oh, no, no, no, that’s far too dangerous’. So then I spoke to Yvonne Britton, who is, you know, is a very familiar person in the space and said, ‘Yvonne, I cannot talk to you about any policies or any adjusted work packages, but all I can do is educate you about HRT and about treatment choices and about symptoms and about what the menopause means and about the health risks’. So I was there, as you know, for a year. It was amazing because they were very embracing and the demand really increased for awareness. And so then obviously, I introduced you to Linda and you set up your company, Talking Menopause, around that time.

Sarah Davies [00:14:06] Yeah, that’s right and Linda had set up a menopause programme, an initiative across West Midlands Police after her own experience when she was off work for three months, and literally went from running 100 frontline staff as a police inspector to overnight not having the confidence to walk out of her front door and didn’t manage to find the right level of treatment at all through that three months, but luckily had a male manager who supported her back into work and then she decided to put menopause on the map. And yeah, I really wanted to take menopause into the workplace.

Sarah Davies [00:14:37] Menopause is still now where mental health was probably five or six years ago. It’s very much where maternity and pregnancy was probably 20 years ago. You know, when I remember being very nervous telling my manager that I was pregnant about 18 years ago, and I look back to the early days of it when we were running face to face conferences, a lot of police, the emergency services actually have been really quite at the forefront of menopause at work. And some of the first conferences that we ran for Devon and Cornwall Police were well oversubscribed. We had 120 women in the audience, our largest was 180 women desperate to find out and know, and you can laugh thinking 180 menopausal women in one room. But it was absolutely amazing.

Sarah Davies [00:15:24] And one of the key things for organisations is it’s really important to try and find some senior role models and certainly across those emergency services and even some NHS trusts and councils I’ve been working for, for example, recently when they have a senior role model at the top of the organisation who is actually taking menopause seriously, it really helps, because so often conversation starts at a grass root level between women suffering at work and the menopause support groups, which are so invaluable. As you just mentioned the example of West Midlands Police, because too many female employees at work feel so isolated and alone, they think they are not normal. And as we know, about 10% on average leave work altogether. But if the women start having the conversations which are really supportive. But actually, it’s very hard to then make changes in the organisation or encourage managers to be aware because at the moment, until the treatment is more accessible for women, it’s really important that the organisations do have that confidence around menopause and that awareness and acknowledgement.

Sarah Davies [00:16:38] As one of my male clients, David Wilkin from South Gloucestershire Council, said to me recently, “it’s not as though women suddenly get an email saying ‘You’re perimenopausal”, this is what it’s all about. So it’s such a journey and a very complicated journey for any individual going through the menopause, and it’s a journey for the organisation as well. How they understand menopause, increase awareness, increase visibility of it, include it as part of diversity and inclusion agenda, as well as wellbeing agenda, and actually know how to support and signpost their colleagues with practical solutions. It’s not just about policy, a lot of organisations, say ‘Oh we need a menopause policy’. Well, policies have a time and a place, but often just gather dust on the shelves. It’s about the practical solutions and practical guidelines that are so important about what reasonable adjustments individuals might need while they were on this journey until they can get the right treatments and feel better. And on an ad hoc basis, because, you know, women don’t want to work less, do they? Most women can’t afford to reduce their hours, for example. So it’s really important that ad hoc flexibility around recent adjustments is discussed. But we know that only about 10% of women actually have the confidence to have a conversation with their managers.

Dr Louise Newson [00:18:00] Yeah, I mean, it all makes me really, as you know, because I’ve said 20 times, really sad, actually. So if we think of other hormone deficiencies because obviously the perimenopause and menopause is a hormone deficiency. So is there any workplace that are doing any work on underactive thyroid for people that hypothyroidism, do they have any adjustments? Do they have any? Of course they do. Because why is that? Because they go and get therapy.

Sarah Davies [00:18:25]  Exactly, the accessibility’s there.

Dr Louise Newson [00:18:27] And I think there’s two issues really, awareness is absolutely crucial. So as you know, I get migraine, Jessica, my daughter, has really disabling migraines, so we need to have awareness about migraines that affect one in seven people. More common in women, can lead to massive absenteeism from work. Lots of people take time off work. For those people that don’t understand migraine and think it’s just a bad headache, they need education because, well, people have migraines, they often can’t think properly, they come – Jessica gets very – her co-ordination goes, she can’t even walk up the stairs without falling over. I can’t remember anything, and I slur my speech sometimes. So workplace have to be aware, and I would love it if I had a migraine at work and someone said you look dreadful, go to bed, take the day off, come back when you’re feeling better. So I absolutely think any chronic condition workplaces have a responsibility. But that’s about awareness, like you say and signposting. If I was having a headache or a migraine every single day, I’d like one of the people at work to say, ‘Louise I think your treatment’s not working. Do you need to go and see a doctor?’ And hopefully actually migraine is really underserved, but I might see a specialist. So actually, we’re now talking about the menopause. It doesn’t affect one in seven people , it affects 100% of half the population directly, so 51 percent. So I can’t think of any, well, there shouldn’t be any organisation that only employs men, so every employer has somebody.

Sarah Davies [00:19:59] Exactly.

Dr Louise Newson [00:19:59] But actually, isn’t it awful that you’re having – and I know the stories really upset you to listen to – these stories of women that have to have support. They have to have adjustments until they get help. For a lot of women, they never get help for something that has medical health risks as well.

Dr Louise Newson [00:20:18] So mental health, like you say, has been really good. But if someone was really depressed, clinically depressed, they would also hopefully receive treatment too.

Sarah Davies [00:20:28] Exactly.

Dr Louise Newson [00:20:28] And so it’s just sad that, you know, you do all these amazing webinars of awareness and a lot of women on it who aren’t just line managers, they are people who are experiencing symptoms. So they’ve got a personal interest and a professional interest. But then they could easily get help, and I find whenever I do any workplace work, if I said to people, right tomorrow, I’m going to come back and do a clinic. It would be amazing, you know, and actually how awful that people can’t get this treatment.

Sarah Davies [00:21:01] And we get so much feedback, you know, at the end of our sessions, ‘Thank you, you’ve really now given me the confidence to go back to my GP’. And often it’s the word back to my GP as opposed to just to my GP. And you know, it’s such a light bulb moment for them. You know, one that’s recently, that really sticks to mind is, I think I told you about a lady from University Hospitals Bristol and Weston who we ran an online conference for? And she wrote to me and says, ‘I need to write to you. I’m 58. I’m bald, I’m black. I’m saying I’m black because in our communities, we just don’t talk about women’s health challenges. I thought I had dementia. I thought I needed therapy. I feel so liberated. I managed to stay awake through the whole day of the conference, which was unbelievable. I’ve been suffering for years, since the conference last week I’ve been talking about my brain fog to everybody shouting from the rooftops. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.’ I shouldn’t have a job, to be honest. You know, lovely ideal world. I really, really shouldn’t. And hopefully that will change and Linda and I, for example, we’re both qualified mental health first aiders. Why isn’t menopause included in that training? Because as you and I will know, the psychological symptoms affect women so much more. The three, from all the thousands we’ve worked with affects symptoms, affect women most at work. It’s definitely anxiety, brain fog and excessive fatigue.

Dr Louise Newson [00:22:26] Yeah, and we did. I’m sure you know this, this survey of lots of women, so nearly 4000 women, and we found that 59% had taken time off work due to their symptoms. But what was really shocking was that half,so 50%, of those women who answered the survey had either resigned or taken early retirement due to their perimenopause or menopause. And a fifth of women are not going for promotion. And it’s no surprise, is it? If your brain isn’t working and you’re feeling tired, you are going to reduce your hours, you are going to take a suboptimal job. And the other thing is this is why awareness of what you’re doing is so important, is that this survey showed that only 5% said, 1 in 20 actually, had menopausal symptoms put on their sick notes. So a lot of women, and I’m sure you hear the same, are being told on their sick note, it is anxiety, or depression, or headaches, or stress. So then their occupational health departments, even their line manager, might be misjudging them as well and then not signposting them to the right help because, you know, their sickness record is incorrect. And I think that no one should be judging anyone for any illness. But there is this stigma, and actually as a GP, I used to put menopause quite a lot on sick notes. And the first time I did it, it was actually for someone in the police force, one of my patients and she said, ‘Gosh, what’s going to happen?’ I said, ‘It’s going to start a conversation, and I think that would be a positive conversation’. But actually, the work we did in the police is that a lot of women didn’t even know their symptoms were due to the menopause because they hadn’t been given information. And it’s not all of the work you do, it’s not just about women, it’s about men being educated as well. And what’s the response like for men having education?

Sarah Davies [00:24:13] Well, it’s interesting and actually one of our clients, Shropshire Fire, made menopause training mandatory for their managers, which was amazing because over 90% or 95% of their managers are male and it was face to face workshops and they sat there with their arms closed. And when we asked them what menopause meant to them at the beginning, we struggled to even get a word out of them. But then actually, once we started talking about it, they realised that indirectly, they were going to be affected. Some of them were affected, realised that their partners were going through it. So actually incredibly supportive, to be honest. Yes, it helps if any male or female has had a personal story, but I think you can’t be gender specific. I know somebody who, for example, works for a female manager. She tried to talk to her female manager about her symptoms. Her female manager was very dismissive, didn’t want to acknowledge them. And the poor woman ended up going off sick with stress again. No menopause absenteeism criteria for two months. So the men are really supportive. We ran a part two of an open menopause champion course this week, and it was really interesting because we had a bunch of probably on average middle-aged women from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue. So quite frontline staff, some of them working shifts. And then we had a bunch of employees from a law firm, some new law solicitors. Now one of those individuals is training up to become a menopause champion so really signposting staff and increasing awareness was a 20-year-old male law student, and we did role-play and he was amazing. He will play as a menopause champion and he was confident he was empathic, he was reassuring and when we talked to him afterwards, he said he thinks his generation, and I think he’s probably right, thinking of our children who are close to that age, are actually a bit more open about whether it be mental health or what it might be and supportive. But how amazing that you know a 20-year-old male law student is training up to be a menopause champion, for example.

Dr Louise Newson [00:26:17] Which is great because it’s normalising the conversation, but we don’t want it normalised that people think symptoms are normal. So anyone who is listening, who is suffering or knows someone who is suffering or hasn’t had the conversation even in the workplace, need to be thinking about it so we can really normalise, but also signpost so that people can be empowered. And even we did some research recently just within the app by asking people whether using the app has increased their ability to receive the treatment that they want and 65% who had used it for three months had received HRT, which is what they wanted compared to the national average of around 10 to 14%, which is great, but also the vast majority – over 80% – felt empowered, and they also felt supported because again, it’s about talking and sharing and knowing how to get help. And also, you need people as advocates. So if they haven’t had the right treatment that they want or the right advice they want, they know it’s quite OK to go and see someone else. And we’ve talked about doctors, but a lot of the time it might be nurses or prescribing pharmacists and or someone in a hospital. So, you know, there’s a lot of education work doing, certainly through our not-for-profit with the society to really improve healthcare professional training. And I feel that really is ramping up at the moment because the more healthcare professionals speak to menopausal women and feel out of their comfort zone because they haven’t had the training, now they are getting training. So it’d be really interesting to have you back in two or three years time and hopefully hear how your job has changed. So rather than feeling so despaired with the stories, you’ll be doing more of this awareness and getting the conversations out there. So it’s incredible the work that you’re doing.

Sarah Davies [00:28:03] Thank you.

Dr Louise Newson [00:28:04] We’ll put some links to it on the notes at the end, but just before we finish. Could you maybe just give some three take home tips, but I’d like to split them up, so I’d like two for workplaces and what they could do if they’re thinking, ‘Oh gosh, we don’t do anything’. And then one for someone who is working but is experiencing symptoms and doesn’t know where to go.

Sarah Davies [00:28:26] OK, so workplace: the key thing is everybody needs to be aware of it. So very much start having conversations, talking to everybody about it, making employees realise that it is a normal process that every female employee will go through, and there’ll be a lot of partners also being affected with work. So conversations. Secondly, consider some of the practical sides. So one that springs to mind is where is the safe space for somebody to just have a break to escape to? One woman told us last week it was 222 steps from where she lectured at the university to the closest toilet, for example.

So what are some of the easy, practical solutions to support individuals suffering at work and for the women themselves? I would say don’t suffer in silence. It is normal what you’re going through. Talk to others. You’re more likely to talk to a friendly colleague at work. Download the balance app and have confidence to go back to your GP or healthcare professional if you’re not getting the right level of support. There’s a lot of help out there, and I think that is the key thing is don’t continue to suffer in silence. We’ve all been there.

Dr Louise Newson [00:29:47] Absolutely. I think it’s so important to look out for your work colleagues as well.

Sarah Davies [00:29:51] Absolutely.

Dr Louise Newson [00:29:52] I wish someone had spotted me when I started to get more tearful and my appointment lengths were longer because I kept forgetting things and just slowing and not being quite as dynamic with patients. So if someone that popped into my room and said, ‘Oh Louise, read this leaflet, do you think this could be you?’.

Sarah Davies [00:30:07] Yeah, exactly.

Dr Louise Newson [00:30:07] Could have saved me a few months of stress. But so it’s amazing the work you do. I look forward to seeing how things progress, and thanks so much for your time today, Sarah.

Sarah Davies [00:30:15] Thank you. Lovely to be with you.

Dr Louise Newson [00:30:20] For more information about the perimenopause and menopause, please visit my website, balance-menopause.com. Or you can download the free balance app, which is available to download from the App Store or from Google Play.

END

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