Menopause and Work

Menopausal women are the workplace’s fastest-growing demographic; nevertheless, many of these women may be struggling to cope with the psychological and physiological changes that their bodies are through.

Menopause is a natural part of aging that happens between the ages of 45 and 55, when estrogen levels begin to fall.

Menopause symptoms have been demonstrated in studies to have a major impact on workplace attendance and performance.

A quarter of menopausal women will have debilitating symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats, as well as heightened worry, which may drive them to leave their jobs.

As a result, a large number of experienced middle-aged women are leaving the workforce.

Menopause in the Workplace

With our population living longer, working longer, and so many menopausal people in the workforce, it’s critical that employees are given the tools they need to stay healthy and succeed at work.

Menopause is more than a gender or age issue; it can have a direct or indirect impact on coworkers, and as a result, it should be regarded an organizational issue.

All supervisors should be aware of the situation and how they might help their employees.

Managers should be mindful of menopause’s indirect affects on people such as spouses, significant others, and close family members/friends of those going through the menopause.

Because the shift can place additional strains and disruptions on relationships, it’s critical that managers direct employees to the right resources.

Both companies and employees benefit from managing the consequences of menopause at work.

It can be a challenging and stressful period for people who are suffering symptoms.

Menopause Basics

Everyone goes through menopause in their own way, and for some, the symptoms can be quite severe, affecting people both physically and mentally.

Menopause normally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, however it can occur much earlier.

Symptoms usually persist around four years for most people, but they can continue much longer in other circumstances.

There are 3 different stages to the menopause:

  • perimenopause
  • menopause
  • postmenopause**

Some women may go through surgical menopause or early menopause earlier in their lives.

Because these types of menopause might be medically complex, companies should keep this in mind when providing support to their employees.

All stages and forms of menopause are distinct, and symptoms can range from minor to severe, depending on the individual.

Common symptoms include:

  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
  • difficulty sleeping
  • low mood or anxiety
  • reduced sex drive (libido)
  • problems with memory and concentration

Menopause is caused by a shift in the balance of sex hormones in the body that occurs as you get older.

It occurs when ovaries stop releasing as much estrogen and cease to release an egg each month.

Premature or early menopause can strike at any age, with no obvious explanation in many cases.

It can be brought on by a treatment such as oophorectomy, some breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy, or it can be caused by an underlying disorder such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.

Trans persons may experience menopausal symptoms as a result of the natural menopause process, medications, or operations.

It’s crucial to remember that people’s menopause experiences might vary substantially for a variety of reasons.

Disability, age, color, religion, sexual orientation, and marital/civil partnership status may all influence menopausal experiences and views.

It’s crucial to remember that people’s menopause experiences might vary substantially for a variety of reasons.

Menopause for Managers

It will be simpler for an employee to feel comfortable discussing a health condition like menopause if relationships are built on trust, empathy, and respect.

Regular and informal one-on-one meetings with members of your team can serve as a platform for discussing any changes in someone’s health state, including menopause.

Asking people how they’re doing on a frequent basis will help to foster an open and inclusive culture and encourage them to express any issues they may have.

Menopause can decrease people’s confidence, and speaking with someone who is unaware of the menopause might be intimidating.

Women will be less reluctant to approach you and discuss how the menopause is affecting their health and job if you are sympathetic and educated about the range of menopausal symptoms.

Simple adjustments to a person’s function or work environment can help guarantee that the menopause does not become a performance hurdle.

Changes can be physical, such as giving a fan, or they can be more subtle, such as providing a more flexible work schedule.

People are affected differently by the menopause, but there are some practical steps you can take to support women going through the menopause at work and help to alleviate some of the most prevalent symptoms.

Sleep Issues

  • If someone is struggling with sleep issues, they may require a short-term absence.
  • Think about changing shift patterns or allowing people to exchange shifts on a temporary basis.
  • Conducting risk evaluations and making necessary modifications.
  • Provide a flexible working arrangement, such as a later start and finish time, to help women manage menopause at work.
  • If an employee has had a bad night, let them know they can work from home on an as-needed basis.

Hot Flashes/Flushes

  • Consider providing a fan, moving a workstation closer to a window, or adjusting the air conditioning to cool the working atmosphere.
  • Make cold drinking water and restrooms readily available.
  • Make uniforms more comfortable.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks for as little time as possible (subject to any COVID-secure procedures that may be required).

Excessive Bleeding

  • Ensure that washroom and toilet facilities are easily accessible.
  • Allow for more frequent trips to the restroom.
  • Be patient with someone who works from home and is experiencing severe bleeding.
  • Ensure that sanitary supplies are readily available in restrooms.
  • Make it simple to request additional uniforms if necessary.

Headaches and Migraines

  • Consider making a temporary change to someone’s job responsibilities.
  • Make sure you have a peaceful place to work.
  • Make a restroom available.
  • Make drinking water readily available.
  • Allow for regular pauses and medicine administration.

Performance Reviews

If someone’s performance is suffering, it’s critical to assist them in identifying the source of the problem.

Menopausal symptoms can sometimes be so severe that they impair a person’s ability to work.

In this case, it’s in everyone’s best interests (yours, your employer’s, and the employee’s) to talk about possible changes that could help the individual reach their full potential.

Prior to any formal measures for underperformance, any suspected or known health conditions should be investigated.

Performance management should be more than just a once-a-year meeting.

When it’s proactive, casual, and based on regular and constructive criticism and discussion, it’s most effective.

This aids in the development of trusting relationships and two-way communication, making it easier to treat any underlying health concerns, menopause-related or not.

mySysters is an app for women in perimenopause and menopause. Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day named mySysters the Best App for Women in Perimenopause and a Must Have App for Women.

The preceding information does not constitute medical advice or treatment.