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Our multi-authored paper [1] presents a review of existing studies (1974-2015) that address the relationship between menopause, paid employment and workplace environments. We report that since 2000 there has been a growing number of studies which have systematically explored two interrelated concerns: whether, to what extent, and how menopausal symptoms influence women’s work, including costs to employers; and the role of physical and psychosocial aspects of the workplace environment in aggravating or alleviating symptoms.

Work factors as well as menopause-related symptoms and disease affect working women. Work stress/overload, long/inflexible working hours, perceived job control, and gendered/aged-based workplace norms and stigmas, and anticipated supervisor/collegial responses, are key psychosocial factors that compound and complicate the impact of women’s symptom experience. Vasomotor symptoms (VMS) are often reported as having a negative effect on women’s productivity and experience at work. In some studies, the psychological and somatic symptoms accompanying VMS are more significant than the hot flashes per se.

Suggestions for employers are made which would support working women through menopause and the years that follow. Changes which could be made in the workplace are recommended, including health promotion programs.

Author(s)

  • Gavin Jack
    Professor of Management, Department of Management, Monash Business School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Philip M. Sarrel
    Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Psychiatry, Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Citations

  1. Jack G, Riach K, Bariola E, Pitts M, Schapper J, Sarrel P. Menopause in the workplace: What employers should be doing. Maturitas 2016;85:88-95
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26857886
  2. Geukes M, van Aalst MP, Nauta MC, Oosterhof H. The impact of menopausal symptoms on work ability. Menopause 2012;19:278-82
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21997498
  3. Sarrel P, Portman D, Lefebvre P, et al. Incremental direct and indirect costs of untreated vasomotor symptoms. Menopause 2015;22:260-6
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25714236
  4. Sarrel P, Rousseau M, Mazure C, Glazer W. Ovarian steroids and the capacity to function at home and in the workplace. N Y Acad Sci 1990;592:156-61
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2375580
  5. Hunter M, Battersby R, Whitehead M. Relationships between psychological symptoms, somatic complaints and menopausal status. Maturitas 1986;8:217-28
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3784918
  6. LaCroix AZ, Chlebowski RT, Manson JE, et al. Health outcomes after stopping conjugated equine estrogens among postmenopausal women with prior hysterectomy: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2011;305:1305-14
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21467283
  7. Manson JE, Ames JM, Shapiro M, et al. Algorithm and mobile app for menopausal symptom management and hormonal/non-hormonal therapy decision making: a clinical decision-support tool of the North American Menopause Society. Menopause 2015;22:247-53
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25314150
  8. Griffiths A, MacLennan SJ, Hassard J. Menopause and work: An electronic survey of employees’ attitudes in the UK. Maturitas 2013;76:155-9
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23973049
  9. Gartoulla P, Bell RJ, Worsley R, Davis SR. Menopausal vasomotor symptoms are associated with poor self-assessed work ability. Maturitas 2016;87:33-9
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27013286
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