October 18 marked World Menopause Day, a milestone for raising awareness of the menopause and improving women’s health and wellbeing in mid-life and beyond. This year’s theme was ‘Cognition and Mood’, which is timely given Capco’s focus on mental health throughout October. To mark the day, I’m pleased to have this opportunity to share my own story.
Last year, a friend told me about bioidentical hormone balancing treatment and how it has transformed her life as she transitions through perimenopause. Like me, she is in her mid to late forties and a busy working parent, and while speaking to her I realised I was suffering from similar symptoms: sleep deprivation, anxiety, unexplainable rage, fatigue, and at times feeling utterly desolate. I am known among my friends and work colleagues as typically being high energy and can-do, with a no-nonsense attitude. However, I had been suffering in silence. It took me confiding in a close friend to realize that this was not something to struggle through alone, and that I could get help.
I underwent several blood tests and assessments with a specialist, where I discovered that I am deficient in three essential hormones – progesterone, testosterone and DHEA –as well as Vitamin D. These results explained why I had been struggling for so long. I commenced bioidentical hormone balancing treatment a year ago, and in just three weeks I started to feel much better.
I now sleep better, feel more myself again and am able to do my job. When anxiety does present itself, it passes much faster. I now understand what is happening, so I can make sure to take more care of myself during those times. My personal medication is reviewed and adjusted regularly by reassessing my hormone levels via blood tests. It is reassuring that the treatment is tailored to my specific levels.
This journey has shown me that what I am experiencing is completely normal and can be treated. However, it is astounding that neither the NHS nor private medical insurance providers regard this as a critical service. I am fortunate that I can afford to prioritise this therapy – but why does it need to be this way?
I have benefitted from Capco’s recently launched menopause policy, which has allowed me to take leave when needed. I was able to tell my colleagues that I was taking a day off because I was struggling, and then return to work once the anxiety passed. Being able to talk openly about this topic is so important in ensuring we are providing the right support to all our women colleagues.
Mid-life women are the fastest growing demographic in the UK workforce, up 112% over the past 30 years. This impacts us all, with 1 in 4 women experiencing severe menopausal symptoms and 1 in 10 women leaving the workforce due to their symptoms – symptoms that can span as long as 15 years. Capco is committed to providing support and raising awareness for all women colleagues and allies. This includes a paid leave of absence for those struggling with menopause symptoms.