Three quarters of veterinary staff are concerned about the impact of the menopause

A survey run jointly by Veterinary Woman (VW) and the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) has highlighted the profound impact of the menopause in veterinary working life.

The survey had over 250 responses, and gained insight into awareness and impact of the menopause. Over 80% said the menopause had affected their health, with almost half reporting a moderate to severe impact on their mental health.

Over 76% said they were concerned about the impact of the menopause on their health, life, and work.

The survey, which aimed to gain an insight into awareness of the menopause in addition to the impacts, had over 250 responses. Over 80% said the menopause had affected their health, while nearly half said the impact on their mental health had been moderate to severe. Overall, 76% said they were concerned about the impact of the menopause on their health, life and work.

The most commonly reported physical symptoms, affecting over three quarters of respondents, were fatigue, irritability and difficultly sleeping. Hot flushes, night sweats and joint pain were also very common. Anxiety was the most common mental health impact, with some individuals experiencing clinical depression and, rarely, suicidal ideation.

Workplace measures reported to be helpful included flexible working hours, help with heavy lifting and fans and air conditioning. Diary management which allowed for breaks and openness and understand amongst colleagues were also valued.

The majority of respondents were women of menopausal age, and consisted of vets and veterinary nurses in clinical roles as well as practice managers and non-clinical staff members.

veterinary woman menopause survey

Liz Barton, editor of Veterinary Woman said, “As a predominantly female workforce, we cannot ignore the profound impact the menopause can have both on individuals and veterinary teams. The effects last for an average of seven years and impact a majority of women mid-career. As a profession we have an opportunity to lead this conversation as it’s beginning to open up across the wider media.”

Awareness of the impact of menopause was wide ranging across age categories, but averaged 4.3 out of 10 for those 40 years old and under, and increased to 7.4 out of 10 for those aged 41 and over. Even with relatively high levels of awareness among respondents, 90% said they would like to know more about the impacts from either personal and/or business and human resource perspectives.

SPVS President, Anna Judson, said, “Having experienced the effects of the menopause working as a practice owner, I wish I had known more about the impact and that I was not alone in how I was feeling. It’s time to break these taboos, open up the conversation and put in place measures to mitigate the impacts. In so doing, we will not only help individuals to continue to thrive in their careers, but also help practices to retain experienced staff at this challenging time of life.”

A full report of the survey has been published and can be accessed here.

A free access webinar discussing menopause impacts and how to mitigate them is freely available to watch on the Veterinary Woman website.

Read more articles about Veterinary Woman here.