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Pru's life changing research

Dr Pru Millear from Sunshine Coast University is researching the effects of menopause on women in the workplace.
Dr Pru Millear from Sunshine Coast University is researching the effects of menopause on women in the workplace. Kari Bourne

EVERY woman will go through menopause - for some it will be a slight hassle, for others an enduring torture.

For University of Sunshine Coast psychology lecturer Dr Pru Millear, it is also the subject of her world-leading research.

Dr Millear has listened to hundreds of women from Australia, the UK, West Indies, greater Europe, South Africa and the United States on how menopause affects a woman in the workplace.

Although it will be no surprise if the results find it does not help, the research may also teach researchers how symptoms vary and how employers can better help their staff.

"Menopause is a natural part of our life but it can be very variable," Dr Millear said.

"Some slip past and never notice, yet for others it is very intense and goes on for years."

Dr Millear said it was "really exciting" to work on the international project based in Australia, to learn more about how women here compare to their sisters overseas.

"The hypothesis is that women with more severe symptoms are going to have more difficulties at work," she said.

"You are much more tired or a bit vague or a bit depressed.

"I hope that people can say that if someone is looking like death warmed up, we need to be considerate of that."

Dr Millear warned against bluntly discussing menopause with a co-worker, something she likened to asking a larger woman if she was pregnant.

"It's equally disastrous," she said.

"But it is not an illness, it doesn't make women less employable and it's no different from someone spraining an ankle.

"We need the common courtesy of looking at people around you."

Menopause can deliver symptoms from hot flushes and sweating, heart discomfort, sleep problems, depressive mood and bladder problems.

For those keen to be involved, the research survey can be found at surveymonkey.com.

Topics:  menopause university of the sunshine coast



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