A Cork-based healthcare and research development company has taken the lead in recognising women’s needs with a ground-breaking proactive new policy.

Solvotrin Therapeutics has introduced a women’s wellbeing policy, where employees are to get paid menstrual leave if monthly period symptoms are debilitating.

The management team at Solvotrin, in Little Island in Cork, insist women’s health and wellbeing needs must be a greater priority for employers.  Recognising this, the company has amended its employment policies to include a focus on women’s health.

All Solvotrin employees also have access to free feminine hygiene products at work.

The Irish healthcare company, which has seen tremendous growth in its Active Iron supplement range, has developed a number of women’s health platforms and information campaigns.

Its Better Days. Period. campaign in the U.K. and Ireland is designed to prompt conversations around periods and to change the narrative about symptoms, such as menstrual fatigue, which 64% of menstruating women say they suffer.

Low iron is an issue that disproportionately affects women, as 1 in 4 have inadequate iron levels.  Menstruation is the leading cause of iron loss worldwide, with women requiring up to three times more iron than men.

This has led the business to be passionate about women’s health and about solutions to improve menstrual symptoms, Head of Marketing, Claire Lynch, explains.

Solvotrin supports the period health movement and facilitates conversations about periods and menstrual symptoms.  We were shocked by our most recent research, indicating that 41% of women suffering period symptoms were told not to worry and ‘just get on with it’.

“I am proud to work for a local business where policy reflects our brand values, and where women’s menstrual health is supported”.

Solvotrin CEO, Pat O’Flynn, says women often avoid iron supplementation due to its common side effects.

“Active Iron is an integral part of so many women’s active lives today because the product provides the benefit of building their iron stores but uniquely helps avoid the common side effects¹ that prevent women form taking iron in the first place”.

64% had period pain disregarded

The Better Days. Period. survey* of menstruating women also highlighted that 64% had period issues disregarded by friends, family or healthcare professionals at some stage.  And, 1 in 5 had taken time off work as a result of their period, while 50% regularly take up to 3 days off.

Questioned about how employers might help, 86% said their workplace had no policy on taking time off because of periods.   And, 82% of women felt there should be more recognition of debilitating symptoms, like pain and fatigue, in workplaces.

68% believe formal workplace policies in relation to menstrual health would help breakdown the stigma associated with periods.

The Solvotrin campaign urging periods ‘conversation’ is supported by female role models including Lucy Kennedy, ITV’s Stacey Solomon, Jess Redden, Ms Ireland, Ivanna McMahon, influencer Izzy Showbizzy, and sportswomen Aifric Keogh and Sanita Puspure.

Dr. Ivanna McMahon, the current Ms Ireland, told guests at a Better Days. Period. event recently that iron loss and fatigue is perfectly normal during a period. 

“However, accepting we should feel bad is not.  Blood loss means iron loss, which means feeling weak and tired.   However, lifestyle and diet changes, and taking an iron supplement, will help sustain energy levels during a woman’s cycle”.

The medical professional says it is important not to suffer extreme period pain in silence, but to actively seek solutions and advice from a GP or consultant, especially for recurring symptoms affecting quality of life.