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Menopause & low T

Why menopause should matter to employers

Why menopause should matter to employers

why menopause should matter
Sep 28, 2022
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In the world of company benefits, maternity coverage is table stakes. Fertility and family building have also increasingly become part of the conversation. But the reproductive health needs of employees, including hormonal health, don't stop there.

Menopause symptoms can make daily life more difficult — including work. Even so, stigma and lack of awareness make it hard for employees to get the care they need.

At Carrot, we believe that employers can support their employees well beyond their fertility and pregnancy journeys. Here’s why HR should consider offering benefits for hormonal aging, too.

A refresher on menopause and hormonal aging

As we age, so do our hormones. As someone’s ovarian reserve (number of eggs) diminishes, estradiol (a form of estrogen) levels drop, and ovulation, menstruation, and the ability to get pregnant start to come to an end. Menopause occurs when someone who previously had periods stops having them for at least 12 months. The average age for menopause is 51, but symptoms can begin up to a decade prior in the perimenopause, or menopausal transition, period.

Menopause symptoms on their impact on employees

An estimated 1.1 billion people worldwide will have experienced menopause by 2025. Despite popular beliefs around menopause, the experience can bring about far more than just hot flashes. Employees may also experience symptoms that make it more challenging for them to feel comfortable, happy, and productive at work — which is in stark contrast to the reality that many people may feel even more confident and in control of their careers in their 40s and 50s. Common, disruptive symptoms include:

  • Fatigue: Poor sleep is common in menopause. When someone continues not to get enough sleep for a sustained period of time, fatigue can set in. Fatigue might mean running late for morning meetings or feeling sluggish throughout the workday.
  • Brain fog: A lack of adequate sleep and fatigue can contribute to feelings of brain fog, or feeling unfocused and forgetful. Brain fog might make it difficult for an employee to feel like they’re bringing their A-game to work, despite their best efforts.
  • Memory lapses: Estrogen is linked to memory performance, which means lower levels might impact memory even beyond brain fog.
  • Mood changes: Dropping hormone levels can also lead to mood swings and even mood disorders like depression and anxiety. This can contribute to, or compound, the stress someone may already feel at work.
  • Nausea: Nobody wants to be at work when they feel sick to their stomach.

These and other symptoms can be so disruptive that, according to a 2022 survey, 79% of people going through menopause in the workplace described it as challenging.

Hormonal aging can also increase health risks over time. Estrogen is protective against heart disease, and the loss of estrogen results in rapid bone loss. Both of these heightened risks can impact your employees’ health in the long run.

Why providing menopause support can increase employee satisfaction

Just 8% say their employer has offered significant support for menopause, with 59% reporting no support at all. 70% of respondents have considered at least one type of major employment-based change due to menopause, led by 47% who’ve considered remote or hybrid work. Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) have even considered changing jobs for better menopause support. Likely due to stigma around menopause and women’s health more broadly, employees rarely speak up about their needs before, during, and after menopause.

In addition to feeling a lack of support at work, those going through menopause also report that they had trouble finding accurate information related to menopause. A 2021 survey with 1,000 respondents found that almost one-third of respondents didn’t think there was enough information available before they went through menopause. The same researchers released a 2022 survey and found that around the same percentage didn’t know what perimenopause was or when it typically starts.

It’s important to educate individuals on these changes early, so they can be proactive about their health and take preventive measures, understand interventions that are available that can help symptoms, and recognize that menopause care is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

How employers can support their employees through menopause

Although menopause care is often covered under standard insurance, accessing it isn’t easy. In fact, according to a 2018 survey from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 42% of women said they hadn’t talked about menopause with a healthcare provider — and only one in five were referred to a menopause specialist.

When people do talk to their providers about menopause, they may find that they aren’t knowledgeable enough to support them. Only 20% of OB/GYN residency programs offer training in menopause care, most of which are elective. As a result, the AARP survey findings reported that around 80% of residents felt “barely comfortable” around menopause care. Another survey found that over half of their respondents who were OB/GYN residents in their fourth year said they needed to learn more about the many aspects of menopause care, including therapies, bone health, heart disease, and metabolic health.

Carrot can help you expand benefits to be more inclusive of employees of all ages and support them throughout the entire lifespan. With Carrot, you’ll be able to bring your employees access to a network of providers vetted for menopause care, avenues for community support through what can be an isolating experience, and additional tools and recommendations to help your employees be as happy and healthy as possible.

If you’re ready to support your employees through hormonal aging, get in touch with us to learn more about how Carrot can help.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, app or social media platform is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Carrot Fertility makes no representations or warranties and expressly disclaims any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, app or social media platform. As Carrot is distinct from any third party providers with whom we partner to provide applications, products, and services to members, we are not responsible for the quality, integrity, safety, accuracy, availability, reliability, or legality of such third party applications, products, and services. Further, Carrot is not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage, harm, injury, or loss of any kind caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance upon any content, material, or services available through any third party providers.
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