Therapy tackles menopause symptoms

Researchers from King’s College London have, for the first time, shown that brief self-help therapy for women to manage menopausal symptoms had a significant positive impact on their working lives.

older ladyDespite more than 3.5 million women in employment aged between 50 and 65 years in the UK, women’s experience of menopause at work is under-researched. 

In a randomised trial, published in Menopause, 60 women were given a self-help Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) booklet to help manage hot flushes and night sweats. These symptoms can be difficult to manage in work contexts due to physical discomfort, social embarrassment, sleep disturbance, and other aspects of the work environment.

At six and 20 weeks later the women rated their menopausal symptoms as significantly less problematic, reported improvements in sleep quality and viewed menopause as more controllable, compared to a control group of 64 women who did not receive the booklet.

Emeritus Professor Myra Hunter, from the Department of Psychology, King’s College London, said:

For many women, the menopause is not a problem, but 20-30% of women have troublesome menopause symptoms that are particularly difficult to deal with at work. Despite this, women’s experience of menopause at work is under-researched.

Dr Claire Hardy, Postdoctoral Research Worker at King’s College London and lead author of the study, added:

We know from previous clinical trials that CBT significantly reduces bothersome menopausal symptoms. So we were extremely pleased with the findings, especially as this was an unguided self-help approach offered in a non-clinical setting.

Read an article about the process of the trial: Women's health: Working women and the menopause.

The King’s Health Partners Women’s Health Clinical Academic Group covers a range of services across maternity care and gynaecological services, and aims to improve women’s health in our community.