Welcome discussions on the menopause and work | Letters

Readers respond to recent Guardian articles about the menopause

The campaign to ensure that employers must protect women going through the menopause (MPs call for compulsory menopause policies in workplaces, 26 August) has to be supported, but should be extended to include those countless women who experience the devastating effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is estimated that 800,000 women experience symptoms so severe that their physical, psychological, social and economic wellbeing is significantly compromised. The menopausal cases cited in the article could just have easily been representative of women suffering from PMS.

The National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome (Naps), has, since its inception in 1984, been working to further the interests of PMS sufferers. One area of concern has been how women cope with their condition in the workplace. It would be a major step forward if this concern could be acknowledged by parliament. To this end we aim to collaborate with those now seeking to protect menopausal women. If we are jointly successful, the benefits to personal health, family life and the economy will be inestimable.
Jackie Howe
CEO, Naps

• I heartily support the idea of mandatory menopause policies in the workplace – particularly as the retirement age is now rising and in my view employers, recruitment agencies and training providers are in no way prepared. I am now 64 and in the Waspi category of women. I took voluntary redundancy from a quango in 2017, on the basis that “if you don’t accept voluntary it will be compulsory next time”. Prior to that, I had really struggled with menopausal symptoms. My concerns were never addressed. The office was always overheated so that it was difficult to concentrate. If you opened a window you were effectively “sent to Coventry” by other members of staff.
Name and address supplied

• Your article is worthy of the widest circulation. My employers were wonderful about managing my menopausal symptoms. When I came home, though, I used to open the fridge and freezer doors and just stand there luxuriating in the almost instant change.
Pat McCarthy
Brentford, London

• Surely this is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Most of my female friends survived the hot flushes with the minimum of medical and legal intervention. This is a natural process and does not need to be pathologised. A bit of consideration and tact usually does the trick – and HRT when available. (Wo)man up, ladies.
Jane Ghosh

• In your recent welcome articles on the menopause, it’s usually said that hot flushes can continue for a decade (Funding gap has left questions unanswered, 27 August). My mother was still having them well into her 80s and I am too, at age 70. For some, the effects of the menopause are lifelong.
Jenny Haynes
Horkstow, North Lincolnshire

• Please take greater care when choosing your vocabulary to describe the menopause. In an otherwise well-intentioned article (What is the menopause and when does it strike?, 26 August), the use of emotive terms such as “strike”, “hit”, and “ramping things down” is unhelpful. As Germaine Greer wrote: “The experience of the menopause is and will remain undescribed because menopause is a non-event. It doesn’t happen on a day or in a place. It is not announced, or applauded or deplored. It is not the last menstruation, which is by definition pre-menopausal, not to mention that you can’t know that a menstruation is your last until months have passed” (The Change: Women, Ageing, and Menopause, Bloomsbury, 2018).

What your article describes is the perimenopause. Women’s experiences of this transition vary greatly, from being barely noticeable to being disruptive and debilitating. I welcome the increasingly open discussion of the subject, but please can we employ sensible language? And in answer to the final question – yes, there is plenty to look forward to.
Judith Laity
Helperby, North Yorkshire

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