Coping With Menopause At Work

“I’m losing it.”

How women are coping with menopause at work is a topic that needs much more attention than it gets.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor statistics indicate that there are over 26.5 million women employed in the U.S. who are are between 45 and 64 years of age, of which 15 to 20 million experience menopause symptoms. It is estimated that 20% of menopausal women experience moderate to severe symptoms. Based on the above figures, between 3 and 5 million American women are struggling with menopause at work.

Several patients have expressed their concerns to me about the effects that menopause is having on their work.

One patient, Mary, explained that she works in a male dominated environment and the majority of people are younger men and younger women. She said that she feels that it would be inappropriate for her to talk about menopause to her boss or colleagues at work….and yet her menopause symptoms are having a negative effect on her performance at work.

She told me about one recent incident. During a meeting with a client, she said that she came across as muddled. At one point she mispronounced the client’s name and at another point she used a different client’s name, when referring to this client.

She told me that she had been experiencing disturbed sleep for several nights and it affected her ability to think clearly during that meeting. She said that she was very embarrassed about what had happened and that her confidence was plummeting.

If you can relate to Mary’s experience, you may be interested to learn about results from a recent survey called Menopause At Work.

Menopause At Work survey results

A survey of 1,500 working menopausal women, conducted by The Working Mother Research Institute, found that nearly half the women said that managing menopause at work is difficult. They cited hot flashes, changes in memory and concentration and fatigue, due to sleep disturbances, as their most common issues. Specific findings were

  • About one-third cited hot flashes as the most troublesome symptoms in the workplace, and roughly two-thirds said that they occurred daily

  • Changes in memory and concentration and fatigue (attributable to sleep disruption) were also among the most troublesome symptoms

  • Almost half (48%) reported that managing their symptoms took a toll on their work life, with 12% passing up more demanding work or promotions as a result

  • The more ‘male’ the work environment, the more that women tried to hide their menopausal symptoms while at work; this distinction was almost two-fold

  • Fewer than one on three women felt comfortable discussing their symptoms with their supervisors and among those who were, again, gender was a strong determining factor

So, what do these flashing, fatigued women desire in their work environment?

Overwhelmingly, one primary ‘want’ shines through: The ability to adjust temperature in their workspace. A close second and third? A flexible dress code and the ability to bring a fan into the workspace.

You can also take steps to relieve those symptoms.

Many women have experienced relief from the symptoms mentioned in the above report, by using progesterone therapy. Progesterone therapy – self administered natural progesterone cream – is an effective, safe and inexpensive treatment for your symptoms.

This post is reproduced with the permission of Menopause Matters.

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