It’s Time to Break the Stigma
Thanks to some celebrities, and even mainstream TV commercials, menopause is a hot topic.
It’s not just the hot flashes we’re talking about. Dealing with menopause at work can be challenging, frustrating, and even embarrassing. But, it shouldn’t be.
With all the changes your body is going through, is it affecting your professional performance?
Are you able to talk about it with your team or management, or is this a taboo topic at your workplace?
Let’s chat about menopause in and out of the office, because it’s time we break the stigma!
How Menopause May Be Affecting Our Work
A 2021 survey of 2,500 women experiencing menopause in the workplace showed that 45% reported taking a menopause-related sick day. Even more alarming is that one in four reported leaving their job due to menopause!
Whether you’re in an entry-level, mid-level, or leadership position, the pressure to hide menopause symptoms is real. There’s already a stigma surrounding women appearing weak in the workplace. For many, menopause can compound these pressures and stigmas.
Why Is Menopause Affecting Work Performance?
Menopause can affect work performance for a variety of reasons. According to the survey, the symptoms with the most impact on work productivity include:
- Sleep disturbances (80%)
- Mood changes (78%)
- Anxiety (75%)
- Brain fog/cognitive issues (75%)
- Joint pain (52%)
Fluctuating hormone levels can also cause depression and even panic attacks. In fact, studies have shown that going through perimenopause — which typically begins in our 40s but can start as early as our 30s — can make us more vulnerable to major depression.
Perimenopause to menopause and post-menopause lasts anywhere from 7 to 14 years. That’s a long time to feel like you are not performing at your best.
What to Do If You Are Struggling with Menopause in the Workplace
- If the symptoms of menopause are hindering you from doing your best work, here are some tips to help you navigate the journey, personally and professionally:
- First, talk to your boss or HR department. It’s important to be open and honest about what you are going through so that accommodations can be arranged, if necessary. We recognize this may be a difficult step, but it’s an important one. There’s no shame in asking for what you need. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you probably remember how accommodating people were at work or in other public settings. Why is it that others understand “pregnancy brain” and other side effects of carrying a baby, but we don’t get the same response to menopause — another totally natural life occurrence in a woman’s life?
- Second, take care of yourself! Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. This is a crucial time to focus on yourself.
- Finally, talk to your healthcare provider. There are medications and therapies available that can help ease menopausal symptoms, including bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
What Is BHRT and How Can It Help?
BHRT is a type of hormone therapy that uses hormones identical to the ones our body produces. These bioidentical hormones supplement our body’s natural supply when we are not producing enough of them on our own. For many women, BHRT helps to alleviate symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Achy joints
- Urinary issues
Don’t suffer in silence. Menopause is nothing to be ashamed of. If menopause is affecting your work life, talk to your doctor.