Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Moreen Simpson: Tiptoeing around the menopause at work doesn’t help anyone

Dealing with symptoms of the menopause at work can be embarrassing and upsetting for women (Illustration: Helen Hepburn)
Dealing with symptoms of the menopause at work can be embarrassing and upsetting for women (Illustration: Helen Hepburn)

That al’ nickum the menopause is suddenly big news again.

Or “The Change” as my mum and her mates used to only whisper – such a dreaded female affliction. (They also only mouthed “pregnant” or its alternative, “fallen”. Ye gods.)

At the House of Commons women and equalities committee on Wednesday, members debated how the law could protect menopausal women in the workplace, with thousands giving up their jobs because they can’t cope. Elsewhere, 40-something celebs have been highlighting the horrors of the perimenopause, before the full kaboodle kicks in.

Tell me about it. My early-onset hit at the beginning of the 1990s when I was barely 42, at the worst possible time. I’d recently met the man who’d become my second hubby. And newly promoted to a demanding, day and night job as assistant editor of The Press & Journal. Perfect for welcoming a major reconfiguration of yer body chemistry, dontchathink?

Men don’t half have it easy; no menstruation, no childbirth, no menopause, no hassle.

I was the perfect mobile brazier

I started sweating in bed, then the hideous hot flushes several times a day. I went to work in the thinnest possible collarless blouses, even in the depths of winter.

Only women who have suffered these incendiary devils can fully understand how debilitating they are. The heat starts deep down then works its way up over the chest, to the now-scarlet neck, up to your deep puce face, until it hits the top of yer peer napper where, at bilin’ point, the lid of the pressure cooker suddenly unscrews and you cool doon like a deflated balloon.

On wintry walks, my man reckoned I was the perfect mobile brazier.

I erupted a’wye aroon the office, but worst when I was chairing daily news conferences – the only woman, crushingly embarrassed at having to keep swipin’ the trickling sweat aff my bright red brow.

After the first few times, I decided to ‘fess up. “Sorry, you guys, I’m going through the menopause. Just be delighted you lucky sods don’t have to suffer it.” After that, like all good newsmen, they just made loads of hilarious and highly dubious jokes about it. That suited me fine.

Searching for a cure

But fit aboot a cure? Somebody suggested black cohosh – a so-called natural substitute for estrogen, never scientifically proved. In spite of many swallowings, it didn’t work.

I heard the symptoms came back as bad as ever (like a renewed menopause) once you came off the drug. Panic, panic

After being referred to the menopause clinic at ARI, I reluctantly went on to HRT, in spite of warnings it could cause breast cancer and other side effects. It fair did the trick; bye-bye flushes and brain fog. Miraculous.

When I forgot to take it on holiday once, my hubby reckoned I’d instantly crumble into an old crone. Then I heard the symptoms came back as bad as ever (like a renewed menopause) once you came off the drug. Panic, panic.

I’d been on it for three or four years, demanded to come off, and waited… Nothing. Officially an al’ wifie. Yippee!


Moreen Simpson is a former assistant editor of The Press & Journal and started her journalism career in 1970

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]