Listening to and understanding our community’s greatest needs is a core pillar of the TBM brand and in July, through bespoke research with 100 women, we set out to uncover which symptoms were the most common and how they were affecting everyday life and happiness. The findings shed light on the multifaceted challenges they face, both in terms of physical wellbeing and their professional lives.
Physical Struggles: A Multitude of Symptoms
Among the surveyed women, a staggering 7 out of 10 reported grappling with heightened anxiety, weight gain, and sleep disturbances. A substantial 6 in 10 encountered challenges ranging from aching joints and "brain fog" to periods of low mood. Meanwhile, 5 in 10 reported wind and bloating, hot flushes, and difficulties in maintaining concentration.
In addition to these commonly discussed symptoms, the research unearthed a spectrum of issues rarely spoken about. Women noted experiencing skin changes, hair loss, irregular menstrual cycles, heavier periods, and an unusual intolerance to even modest amounts of alcohol.
Emotional and Psychological Impact
The emotional repercussions of menopause echoed throughout all the responses. A staggering 65% of participants agreed that their ability to manage stress had diminished compared to their pre-menopausal days. More than 6 in 10 women acknowledged a reduction in their confidence levels; and 53% admitted gaining weight, despite no change in their dietary habits. Intriguingly, over half the respondents (52%) confessed that their symptoms had led them to question their very identity.
Sources of Guidance: Seeking Understanding and Support
When grappling with the intricacies of menopause, women turned to various sources for guidance. Friends emerged as the primary confidantes, with 72% seeking advice from them. General practitioners (GPs) were consulted by 42%, while partners were privy to the experiences of 47%. A notable 33% sought the expertise of specialist doctors.
Interestingly, 46% of women acknowledged resorting to online platforms, particularly Google, to gain insight into their symptoms, overshadowing the 42% who engaged with GPs.
Navigating the Workplace During Menopause
Workplaces often act as another arena where the challenges of menopause unfold. A significant 58% of respondents conveyed that symptoms had impacted negatively on their confidence in their work roles. However, only half (50%) indicated that menopause was a topic of discussion at their workplaces. This signifies that substantial progress is yet to be made in fostering open dialogue.
Meanwhile, the research revealed that 32% contemplated changing or leaving their jobs due to menopausal symptoms. Surprisingly, merely 27% reported their companies having dedicated policies and support mechanisms in place for menopause-related concerns. Alarmingly, 11% admitted to having left their jobs due to the challenges posed by menopause.
The Unveiled Concerns: Glimpses into Women's Minds
Asked about their greatest worries related to menopause, the following were our participants’ innermost concerns:
- Duration of Menopause: The uncertainty surrounding the duration of this phase loomed large.
- Loss of Identity: The fear of losing one's sense of self in the midst of these changes.
- Impact on Relationships: Apprehension about how menopause might impact on relationships and intimacy.
- Libido and Physical Wellbeing: Concerns about whether their libido would return and the impact on their physical wellbeing.
- Anxiety: Coping with heightened anxiety and its toll on daily life.
- Vaginal Discomfort: Navigating the challenges of vaginal discomfort during this phase.
- Sleep Deprivation: The struggle to combat the lack of restful sleep.
- Weight Gain: Dealing with the uncontrollable weight gain that often accompanies menopause.
- Debilitating Symptoms: Overcoming the potentially debilitating nature of various symptoms.
Our research has unveiled a mosaic of experiences that women confront during perimenopause and menopause. Beyond the common symptoms lie intricate emotional battles, and challenges in the workplace. These findings underscore the urgent need for improved dialogue, support, and tailored solutions to address the impact of menopause on women's lives.