One in 10 women have quit their job due to menopause

New figures from a survey of more than 4,000 women comes amid a severe shortage of HRT in the UK

Kate Ng
Monday 02 May 2022 13:07 BST

One in 10 women who have worked while going through menopause have left a job because of their symptoms, a new survey has found.

The survey, believed to be the largest conducted on menopausal women in the UK, found that 14 per cent of women had reduced their hours at work, 14 per cent had gone part-time and eight per cent had not applied for promotion.

TV presenter Davina McCall is set to present the findings from the survey of more than 4,000 women in her new Channel 4 documentary, Davina McCall: Sex, Mind and The Menopause.

The research also features in a report by the Fawcett Society called Menopause And The Workplace.

The gender equality charity’s report said the research found that 10 per cent of menopausal women who are or have been employed during the menopause have left their job due to the symptoms.

Mapped on to the total UK population of ive million women aged 45 to 55, that would represent 333,000 women leaving their jobs because of menopause, the report added.

It also found that a further 13 per cent of menopausal women who have been employed during menopause have considered leaving their job, and disabled women are more likely (22 per cent) to have done so.

Women who said they experienced five or more “very difficult” menopause symptoms were also more likely (19 per cent) to quit.

The research was commissioned by Finestripe Productions, which produced the documentary, and was carried out by Savanta ComRes.

It also revealed that nearly half (45 per cent) of the women surveyed had not talked to someone at their GP practice about menopause.

Even among women with five or more severe symptoms, 29 per cent had not spoken to their GP or a nurse.

Around a third (31 per cent) said it took many appointments with their GP to realise they were experiencing menopause or perimenopause. This figure rose to 45 per cent among women of colour and 42 per cent among women with five or more symptoms.

Only 39 per cent of women who spoke to someone at their GP practice said they were offered hormone replacement therapy (HRT) once they were diagnosed with menopause.

The figures come as the UK is suffering from a severe shortage of HRT, which contains the hormone oestrogen and can helped alleviate severe menopause symptoms.

Prescriptions for HRT have more than doubled in England over the past five years, according to NHS data.

Figures from OpenPrescribing suggest nearly 538,000 prescriptions for HRT treatment were issued in December, compared with 238,000 in January 2017.

The British Menopause Society has advised medics to consider alternative HRT preparations for women who cannot get their usual stock of Oestrogel, including the gel Sandrena or the spray Lenzetto.

Other forms of HRT have also suffered a shortage as demand outstrips supply.

Fawcett Society chief executive Jemima Olchawski said it was a “national scandal” that menopausal women are facing “unnecessary misery”.

“From waiting too long for the right care, to uniforms that cause unnecessary discomfort - women are being badly let down,” she said.

“Too often menopause symptoms have been dismissed as a joke and HRT has been labelled a lifestyle drug.

“But with 44 per cent of women facing three or more severe symptoms, our research helps to dispel that nonsense.

“Faced with that misinformation, is it a wonder that only half of women are even seeking help from their GP?”

Olchawski urged the government to require employers to have menopause action plans, create a rout into menopause healthcare and ensure GPs are adequately trained to spot symptoms.

“For too long, menopause has been shrouded in stigma, we need to break the culture of silence and ensure menopausal women are treated with the dignity and support they deserve instead of being expected to just get on with it,” she added.

Davina McCall told the BBC’s Sunday Morning show that if there was a shortage of insulin or any other drug it would get “sorted out immediately”.

Additional reporting by PA

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