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Menopause symptoms cost billions in lost work time, researchers say

Photo: Juanmonino/iStockphoto

Jacksonville, FL — Around $28.4 billion. That’s what researchers estimate is the combined annual cost of lost work time and medical expenses related to menopause symptoms.

Menopause, when a woman’s menstrual cycle stops permanently, occurs at a mean age of 52 years, the Mayo Clinic says. Common symptoms include hot flashes, trouble sleeping, night sweats, mood changes, achy joints and difficulty concentrating.

To evaluate the impact of menopause symptoms on women in the workplace, researchers at the clinic surveyed more than 4,400 women ages 45-60 who were currently employed and receiving primary care at the medical center between March and June 2021.

The researchers estimate that the annual financial impact in lost work time is about $1.8 billion in the United States alone, and $26.6 billion when factoring in medical expenses.

More than 13% of the women said they had experienced at least one “adverse work outcome” related to menopause symptoms, while 11% reported missing one or more days of work in the past year because of their symptoms.

Menopause symptoms, the researchers note, can affect worker absenteeism and productivity, increase medical costs, and lead to potential lost opportunities for women to advance their careers.

“Our research suggests a critical need to address this issue for women in the workplace,” study co-author Stephanie Faubion, director of Mayo Clinic Women’s Health, said in a press release. “Clinicians need to ask women about menopause symptoms and offer guidance and treatment, and employers need to create and implement workplace strategies and policies to help women navigate this universal life transition.”

The study was published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings

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