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Menopause at Work

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I’m often grateful for the fact that I don’t have to answer to a boss, and that I have been able to work from home for the past 25+ years. When my kids were younger, it gave me the flexibility to work around their schedules, and to be home to make dinner every night. (I like cooking—it’s my meditation.)

But I don’t think I have ever been as relieved that I don’t have to work in an office surrounded by other people as I was when perimenopause started kicking my butt. 

When my body thermometer inexplicably set itself to ‘cremate’ and set off the sweat/sprinkler system, I could strip off my sopping clothes and write in my undies, if that’s what it took to be somewhat more comfortable.

But many if not most working women my age don’t have that luxury. They’re forced to deal with symptoms like hot flashes and crime scene periods at work, thanks to the hormonal havoc that occurs during perimenopause.

Yet employers, at least in North America, haven’t even begun to acknowledge that this might be a problem for employees who are navigating this normal life transition. Consequently, they’re missing out on helping perimenopausal workers stay as productive as possible. 

And that’s to say nothing of the opportunity to retain talented, experienced employees. According to at least one UK study, many women report they’ve forgone promotions, taken time off work, or even left their jobs due to lack of support while going through menopause.(Interestingly, the UK seems to be far ahead of Canada on this issue.)

That’s why some experts say it’s past time to start discussing menopause in the workplace. You can read more about that in this story I wrote for the Globe and Mail’s Globe Women’s Collective newsletter: ‘We Should Be Talking About Menopause at Work’. 

A big thank-you to Dr. Jen Gunter, ob/gyn, columnist, and author of The Menopause Manifesto and The Vagina Bible, for so generously sharing her time and expertise.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva Courtesy of Pexels