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Wendy Gordon co-chair of our Menopause Staff Network talks about the menopause and why it’s so important to raise awareness

Monday, 18 October, 2021
Wendy Gordon, co-chair of our Menopause Staff Network talks about the menopause and why it’s so important to raise awareness to improve support

My name is Wendy Gordon and I am a senior medical secretary working in Orthopaedics in Wansbeck Hospital.  I have worked for the NHS for 24 years!

I first realised I was starting with menopause symptoms when I was 48 years old.  At first I didn’t know it what was happening to me. I was getting particularly moody and having anxiety attacks which were completely out of character for me.  Then the hot flushes started and I realised exactly what was going on.

I didn’t do anything at first as I just thought it was a stage of life to deal with and I had to grin and bear it but as the symptoms got worse I decided to try HRT. I was given tablets which actually made all the symptoms 10 times worse and at that point I thought I’d stop the HRT and just cope. I muddled through for the next few years until I watched a programme on television about menopause and the new ways of using HRT so I went back to the GP and was prescribed HRT patches which, so far, have been a turning point for me and I now am beginning to feel “normal” again.

Menopause has not been a great experience for me. Anxiety, brain fog, memory loss, lack of concentration all of which made life in general and particularly my working life extremely difficult.

It is very important to celebrate World Menopause Day on Monday 18 October.  We need to normalise this chapter of women’s lives. It is a time every female will come to at some point and it needs to be talked about and made less taboo and less of a jokey subject.

I wanted to get involved in the Menopause Staff Network to get support for myself and also to help to provide support and information for other ladies going through this to let them know we are in this together.

It is important that we pave the way for the future generations of female staff to ensure that their menopause journey is made as easy as possible for them. It is also important that we get as much information out to managers and male members of staff so they know how best to support their colleagues at what can be an extremely difficult time for some.

The best thing about our Staff Network is the mountain of information and support we give to each other. No subject is off limits and it’s amazing to have the feeling of “you are not alone”.

Our motto is “it’s not just hot flushes” because menopause is so much more than that.  You can find out more about menopause on NHS Choices website