6 Ways to Address the Impact of Menopause in the Workplace

Menopause is not an event that can be treated individually. In fact, according to Dr. Neel Shah, instead of thinking of menopause as a switch that’s flipped, we should recognize it as a “multi-phase medical journey that takes place over many years.” This trip can have a negative impact on women, and Shah believes that “no one should have to curtail their career ambitions because they have menopause, just as they shouldn’t have to when they’re pregnant.

Dr. Neel Shah is Chief Medical Officer of Maven Clinic, the largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health, and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School. Here are her tips for fighting the stigma and solutions of menopause at work.

Easy access to care

“We can ensure that women, especially in their 40s, are included and supported directly through benefit offerings,” Dr Shah said. There was an increase of

He calls how digital health services can help, indicating that they provide access to services that do not otherwise exist. This easy access could be helpful, as 73% of women are not dealing with their menopausal symptoms, which could address the stigma and privacy that many want.

Digital health, a multidisciplinary concept at the intersection of technology and health, has helped remove geographical barriers to health care. This too helps increase patient engagement in their care, navigate the healthcare system, and collaborate among providers. Shah said “employers were real innovators” in providing mental health services during the pandemic. With telehealth, he says, “women can quickly reach the experts they need to manage hot flashes and all that comes with menopause as well.”

Normalize it like we did with pregnancy

To motivate change, we can learn a lot by reflecting on history. Dr. Shah points to the massive paradigm shift for workplace pregnancy to guide us in closing the menopause care gap. “People are still hesitant to tell their employer about their pregnancy,” he says. “But it’s much more normalized than thirty years ago.” Fertility Benefits have also grown in recent years, moving beyond wellness offerings for relaxing while working on getting pregnant to a medical benefit.

Dr. Shah points to the supports now in place that were once unheard of in the workplace. “It’s hard to imagine a modern employer that doesn’t have a lactation room or don’t offer paid family leave. We’ve made huge strides over a generation and are at a similar inflection point for menopause.

Treating the whole human during menopause

While Dr. Shah is keen to see menopause treated as a medical need, he wants to ensure that supports go beyond physical symptoms and treat the whole person. “People are much more vulnerable to mental health needs during this time,” he says, “What they just need is someone to hook them up with the right experts.” It can be an expert on pelvic floor health, a common symptom of menopause, or “something that needs help with therapy for a specific issue, like urinary incontinence.”

These services can also look at and benefit from the nutritional health of a postmenopausal woman as well. With weight and metabolism changes common in menopause, Shah thinks, “If you had access to a nutritionist, you would want to take advantage of it.

The impact of age on inclusivity

Workplace inclusivity efforts have increased in recent years as part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs. Still, progress remains slow, and companies are frustrated to find the approach that will make the difference. Dr Shah thinks age could be the next “frontier in building an inclusive workplace”.

Take advantage of digital health services

Digital health, a multidisciplinary concept at the intersection of technology and health, has helped remove geographical barriers to health care. This too helps increase patient engagement in their care, navigate the healthcare system, and collaborate among providers. Shah said “employers were real innovators” in providing mental health services during the pandemic. With telehealth, he says, “women can quickly reach the experts they need to manage hot flashes and all that comes with menopause.”

Change comes from below

As he reflected on the progress made by the subject and pregnancy care in the workplace, Shah was hopeful. “The purchasers of health care, ie employers, are the most sensitive to rising demand. We need a wave of demand. Recent years have brought increased pressure from employees, ask for better services to business requests speak out on social issues. As companies feel pressured to retain and recruit top talent, Shah hopes we’ll see continued change.

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