surrounding it and how employers can support their female employees .
Can you introduce yourself and your job role ?
I ' m Dr Laila Kaikavoosi . I ' m a GP and medical specialist and founder and clinical director at the Online Menopause Centre ( OMC ). The OMC is the first registered clinic in the UK to work as an online clinic specifically for menopausal and premenopausal women .
What has your career looked like so far ?
My career has been slightly unconventional after going through very conventional and formal medical school training . I ' ve done postgraduate training both in the UK and the US and my career has evolved with me as a woman . In the last 10 years , I have been seeing more menopausal and peri-menopausal women and that sparked an interest , leading me to find out more about it and what was happening to this group of women .
What would you say is your most memorable achievement so far ?
My most memorable achievement has to be setting up the Online Menopause Centre because I am very passionate about looking after menopausal women and I could see that when you give them time and discuss different aspects of their care , it really could improve their quality of life .
But with a lot of menopause specialist clinics being based in London , it was not always easy for women to take time off work and travel . I set up a service that was more accessible , more convenient and more affordable . So , to achieve that and execute it has definitely been the highlight .
What have been some of the benefits of the clinic being online and some of the drawbacks ?
Being an online clinic , it provides convenience for women as they can get bespoke , personalised care from wherever they wish . It ’ s also less expensive because they don ’ t have to take time off work and don ’ t have to travel . So , I think the convenience of it and the accessibility are positives . But I ' ve always also enjoyed being in the same room and physically seeing my patients so it has taken me a little bit to get used to being fully online .
What is menopause and what are the common signs and symptoms ?
Menopause means the cessation of the menstrual cycle and is diagnosed when a woman has stopped having menstrual cycles for 12 months . The average age of women in the UK is 51 , but the range is anything between 45 to 55 .
The symptoms are wide-ranging , it can cover anything from the head to the toes . Some of the main things that women can initially experience are a lack of focus and concentration . She can get a foggy brain , headaches or migraines can get more frequent or more severe , and she can experience skin irritation or new rashes .
She can also get hot flashes and night sweats – these can also cause palpitations or rapid heartbeat . Other important symptoms include lack of sleep , weight management or urinary problems , psychological problems like anxiety , low moods and irritability . Every woman ’ s experience of this time is very different .
How does the menopause affect women in the workplace , psychologically and physically ?
As I said , the age range of women going through menopause is around 45 to 55 , which is usually when they ' ve reached the peak of their career . These are usually very well-read and informed women at higher positions in their careers .
And , of course , if this woman has not had a good night ' s sleep , if she ' s flushing and having sweats and forgetting things more than usual , and if she can ' t focus or concentrate then this can all negatively affect her workplace .
A survey found that about 75 % of women who have symptoms say that their symptoms negatively affect their workplace . This is not a topic – the menopause – that usually is commonly spoken about in an office , so it ’ s difficult for women to openly talk about it , say ‘ I ' m going through a difficult time right now , I just need to step out and have a glass of water .’ She just has to carry on in silence .
Women going through the menopause can feel quite fuzzy and unclear in the head , as well as feeling very fatigued and very irritable .
All this , the taboo around the subject , the symptoms and the lack of support in the workplace can really affect a woman ’ s work and the quality of it .
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