Ever had a hot flash during a meeting? How about giving a presentation and searching hard for that one lost word? Or dragging yourself to an offsite meeting after only 4 hours of sleep? Menopausal symptoms occur at work especially as these days over 70% of women age 45-55 are in the work force. Hot flushes, memory loss and sleep deprivation symptoms are so common place in the work force but are never discussed. These symptoms can appear 2-7 years before menopause.
Companies know that mid-career women are an asset in the form of experience, loyalty and reliability. Many are freed from the demands of motherhood and have working hour flexibility. But companies should also be aware that there is a cost associated with reduced job performance and work ability among menopausal women in the form of absenteeism, productivity and activity impairment. What can workplaces do to help address employment conditions and these work related stressors?
A recent study conducted on 839 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women (ages 40-72 years) in Australia shows that having the following work related support can help diminish menopausal symptoms.
- Greater supervisor support
- Full time work
- Room temperature control
To move forward companies may wish to think about tailored occupational health policies. Ideas such as having desk fans or temperature control options. Women may wish to be engaged in work as much as possible and seek out supportive supervisors as well (1).
In addition, here are 8 HOT Tips from RedHotMamma http://redhotmamas.org/10-expert-tips-how-to-deal-with-menopause-symptoms-at-work/to help deal with menopausal symptoms at work.
- Destress: Think about meditation or relaxation through mindful breathing. pause and take time for a few deep breaths
- Keep cool with a desk fan or layered clothing
- Drinking 8 cups water a day can help alleviate menopausal symptoms
- Avoid caffeine before a presentation to help with hot flushes
- Avoid spicy foods which exacerbate hot flushes
- Get more sleep by making it a priority to get to bed earlier and avoid heavy meals and bright screens 2 hours before bed
- Don’t smoke- smoking increases hot flushes and is associated with early menopause
- Exercise for weight control, mood enhancement and better quality of life.
Bariola E., Jack G., Pitts M., Riach K & Sarrel P., Employment conditions and work-related stressors are associated with menopausal symptom reporting among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Menopause, Vol 24, No3, 2017.