Menopause leaves many women suffering
Menopause leaves many women suffering in silence at work, but the push for change is on. With two successful businesses to run and a team of staff to lead, Kate Sinfield could not afford to have anything get in her way.
But three years ago, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she started showing symptoms of menopause. "When I first became what I now know as menopausal, I actually thought I'd completely lost my mind, because I couldn't remember anything," she said. The 57-year-old runs Sin Gin Distillery in Western Australia and before this year, had also owned the Murray Hotel in Perth's CBD. But like thousands of other women around the country, menopause significantly impacted her ability to work.
"As a woman, I was feeling really empowered with my career and where I was in my life, and then suddenly, my brain just didn't work."
"I thought I had early onset dementia or something, I was really worried about myself, and then I started not sleeping at night and getting the hot flashes."
Not really understanding what was happening to her, she suffered in silence, worried that if she spoke out, it would undermine her position.
"I think we still live in a very male [dominated] society still, and so many things aren't discussed openly — miscarriages, infertility, most things to do with women," she said.
"There wasn't enough conversation in my workplace and even when I reached out to other women, we were very badly informed about menopause."
A taboo topic in the workplace
After Ms Sinfield received the appropriate treatment, her symptoms subsided, and she felt like herself again.
But her experience with menopause is not uncommon, with many women feeling embarrassed or ashamed to discuss its effect on them.
Find out how menopause may affect your life and what the Canberra Menopause Centre can do for you. Based at SHFPACT, The Canberra Menopause Centre is a dedicated service for those seeking information, support and medical management of menopause symptoms.
Menopause is the stage of life when periods cease. This occurs when the ovaries are no longer producing eggs, and is a natural life event. Menopause has three stages: perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.
Canberra Menopause Centre
Anyone can make an appointment to come and see us. You may self-refer to the service or request a referral by your treating GP. We request that you complete a medical information questionnaire prior to attending the initial doctor’s appointment. To ensure that our doctors with a special interest in menopause have the opportunity to discuss your concerns, we offer longer appointments.
The perimenopause, or menopause transition, is the time from the first onset of symptoms to 12 months after the last menstrual period. The menopause transition can vary in length depending on the individual, but symptoms can occur 1-3 years before the last period.