Jane's Story

“Menopause has been difficult for me. I now bleed so heavily and so suddenly that it’s impossible to be prepared. One time I was stuck alone on reception with a big queue of people in front of me and the cash register, so I couldn’t leave. I could feel myself flooding and knew I was leaking on the chair but had to sit there for a full three hours, glued to the seat until someone came down from upstairs and let me take a break. The pale blue chair was horribly stained and I was so embarrassed. When I told my best friend she just said ‘I hope they threw away the chair’ which made me feel dirty, and worse than ever. Now when I’m on reception I have to sit on a towel, and I can see people looking at me funny.

Meanwhile I have mouth ulcers that make it painful to eat, I’m constantly close to tears, and I’m so embarrassed this is happening to me. Apparently there’s a global shortage of HRT at the moment, which is why my GP won’t prescribe me any, and its difficult to go back and ask again because he’s my next door neighbour and I’m friends with his wife. I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, but I’m really struggling to cope at the moment.”

What can Jane’s office do to support her?

Following discussions in the office, Jane’s line manager has implemented a few new measures. There are now free period products in staff toilets for anyone who is caught short. They’ve bought a black office chair for reception, and they’ve introduced a new staff rota. Now there is more flexibility for people who are feeling unwell or on their period. Shifts are shorter, and it’s socially acceptable to ring upstairs and ask someone to cover for you quickly while you go to the toilet. Where possible, Jane is put on back room shifts when she’s on her period. Feeling more supported at work has reduced her stress, which is helping with her ulcers, and she’s more confident talking about her symptoms. She might even return to her doctor.

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