Women's Health/Menopause

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Symptoms of menopause

Menopause is the end of fertility and is traditionally indicated by the permanent stopping of monthly menstruation. However, menopause exists in some other animals, many of which do not have monthly menstruation;[1] in this case, the term means a natural end to fertility that occurs before the end of the natural lifespan.

The word "menopause" was coined specifically for human females, where the end of fertility is traditionally indicated by the permanent stopping of monthly menstruations. However, menopause exists in some other animals, many of which do not have monthly menstruation;[1] in this case, the term means a natural end to fertility that occurs before the end of the natural lifespan. − −

In the workplace[edit]

In the United States alone an estimated 6,000 women begin menopause every day which is just a small part of a projected 27,000,000 women (ages 45-64) who constitute about twenty percent of the United States labor force.[2]

Research suggests that the workplace environment may impact workplace performance by acting as a stressor for common menopausal symptoms such as: anxiety, mood swings, depression, hot flashes, dizziness, frequent urination, and fatigue.[3] Environmental factors such as the proximity to restrooms, temperature control, and access to open work spaces may impact menopausal symptoms.[4] United Kingdom based researchers found less than half of women surveyed had control over the temperature of their workplace, while nearly all women surveyed reported doing something to cool down like going outside was a successful coping strategy for menopause.[5]

Psychological workplace factors can also aggravate negative symptoms of menopause.[6] High levels of workplace stress may cause a reported decrease in activity levels, and may negatively affect overall well-being.[7] In a report from the UK women reported the inability to fully focus and a fear of adverse performance because of a preoccupation with their symptoms.[8] Sleep deprivation is also a consideration in how menopause can affect workplace productivity and well-being.[9] Women reported that more severe symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, and memory loss were exacerbated by nocturnal hot flashes which resulted in poor sleep.[10] The social and workplace stigma of menopause is another hurdle many women face. Some women may fear asking for support from their employer.[11] Women with younger, or male supervisors and managers may have an added resistance to discussing their condition.[12] Over half of women in the United Kingdom surveyed by the Institute of Work, Health & Organizations reported they had not informed management about their condition and a similar amount reported being unable to take enough time off from work.[13]

Workplace absences and time-off are other important ways that menopause can affect the workplace. Women may conceal menopause-related absences as unrelated[14]. Based on those findings the Prince’s Responsible Business Network recommends that employers change how menopause-related absences are recorded and treated[15].

Employers may be able to support employees going through menopause by accommodating the individual needs of the employee.[16] This may include: evaluating an employee’s psychological or physical state; offering an accommodating work environment; offering informal support (flexible work hours, support groups, etc.); or offering formal support depending on the needs of the employee.

References[edit]

  1. a b Walker, ML; Herndon, JG (2008). "Menopause in nonhuman primates?". Biology of Reproduction 79 (3): 398–406. doi:10.1095/biolreprod.108.068536. PMID 18495681. 
  2. Loehr, A. (February 2016). "How Menopause Silently Affects 27 Million Women at Work Every Day". Fast Company. 
  3. Jacqa, G (2016). "Menopause in the Workplace; What Employers Should Be Doing.". Maturitas85. p. 91-92. 
  4. Jack, G; Riach, K; Bariola, E; Pitts, M; Schapper, J; Sarrel, P (March 2016). "Menopause in the workplace: What employers should be doing.". Maturitas 85: 88-95. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.12.006. PMID 26857886. 
  5. Griffiths, Amanda; MacLennan, Sara; Wong, Yin Yee Vida. "Women’s Experience of Working through the Menopause.". http://www.bohrf.org.uk/downloads/Womens_Experience_of_Working_through_the_Menopause-Dec_2010.pdf. Retrieved September 28, 2017. 
  6. Jacga, G; Riacha, K; Bariola, E; Pitts, M; Schapper, J; Sarrel, P (2015). "Menopause in the workplace: What employers should be doing". Maturitas 85 (2016): 91-92. 
  7. Boyers, L.. "Menopause in the Workplace". http://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/workplace.. Retrieved September 21, 2017. 
  8. "Work and the Menopause: A Guide for Managers. 2010.". The British Occupational Health Research Foundation. http://www.bohrf.org.uk/downloads/Work_and_the_Menopause-A_Guide_for_Managers.pdf.. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  9. "TUC Supporting Working Women Through the Menopause: Guidance for Union Representatives. 2013". https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/TUC_menopause_0.pdf.. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  10. "TUC Supporting Working Women Through the Menopause: Guidance for Union Representatives". https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/TUC_menopause_0.pdf. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  11. "TUC Supporting Working Women Through the Menopause: Guidance for Union Representatives. 2013". https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/TUC_menopause_0.pdf.. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  12. Griffiths, Amanda; MacLennan, Sara; Wong, Yin Yee Vida. "Women’s Experience of Working through the Menopause.". http://www.bohrf.org.uk/downloads/Womens_Experience_of_Working_through_the_Menopause-Dec_2010.pdf. Retrieved September 28, 2017. 
  13. Business in the Community, Women, Menopause and the Workplace, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, United Kingdom: 2016, 2. Available at https://age.bitc.org.uk/sites/default/files/women_menopause_workplace.pdf Accessed on September 28, 2017.
  14. Business in the Community, Women, Menopause and the Workplace, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, United Kingdom: 2016, 2. Available at https://age.bitc.org.uk/sites/default/files/women_menopause_workplace.pdf Accessed on September 28, 2017.
  15. Business in the Community, Women, Menopause and the Workplace, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, United Kingdom: 2016, 2. Available at https://age.bitc.org.uk/sites/default/files/women_menopause_workplace.pdf Accessed on September 28, 2017.
  16. Jack, G., Riach, K., Bariola, E., Pitts, M., Schapper, J. and Sarrel, P. Menopause in the workplace: What employers should be doing. 2017. Available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378512215300906. Accessed on September 30, 2017.