8 tips for surviving menopause in the workplace

Women's Health

by Andrea Palmer, MD

Mar 4, 2024

From trouble sleeping to hot flashes and brain fog, menopause symptoms can affect your ability to function and move about your day, including at work. While menopause in the workplace may not be the most popular topic of conversation, it is an important one—because you matter. And you have the power to do something about it.

The first step to surviving menopause in the workplace is understanding what menopause is. At a certain age, every woman goes through menopause, the end of your monthly period, as well as the time leading up to it, called perimenopause.

Not everyone will have significant symptoms—and many people don’t recognize what they experience as perimenopause. Some symptoms include:

  • Mood changes
  • Changes in sexual desire
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Heavy sweating
  • Having to pee often
  • PMS-like symptoms
  • Brain fog

8 tips for surviving menopause at work

The good news is that these symptoms are not something we have to suffer through. Here are some steps you can take now to better manage menopause at work:

  1. Talk to your doctor

    Your OBGYN or primary care doctor is the best place to start. If your doctor is not taking your concerns seriously, talk to someone else. For too long symptoms of perimenopause have been brushed off. But your symptoms deserve addressing, no matter your lifestyle, so advocate for yourself and your well-being.

  2. Talk to close co-workers

    We need to normalize the fact that menopause happens, and it's not shameful. We can support each other, help each other and lift each other up when we need it. Community is so important. Connection is so important. Remember, you're not the only one going through this.

  3. Be prepared for hot flashes

    Most of us can't control our office thermostat, and we don't need it icebox cold all the time. For when you have a hot flash, also referred to as a hot flush, keep a small fan in your desk. If you have freezer access, ice neck rings can be a lifesaver. If you're someone who sweats a lot, keep a change of clothes in a bag just in case.

  4. Use technology to combat brain fog

    Maintain a working to-do list and start your day on an organized and focused footing. Use Siri, AI or whatever tech works with your flow to set reminders. If I don't tell Siri to remind me to do something at a certain time, I'm likely to forget.

  5. Get your body moving before work

    Exercising in the morning before work can wake you up, ground you and clear your mind for the day ahead. Make movement part of your daily morning routine, and you’ll give your day a strong start.

  6. Stay hydrated throughout the day

    Caffeine is good and works for most of us, but don't forget to give your body the water it needs all day. For most people, aim to drink at least 60 ounces of water.

  7. Prioritize rest and sleep

    After work, go to bed on time so that you feel rested as much as possible in the morning. For busy working moms, after the kids go to bed may feel like your only "me" time in the day. But remember to prioritize a good bedtime routine no matter what.

  8. Consider hormone therapy or other treatments

    Appropriate hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can go such a long way to mitigate symptoms and give you a sense of control back in your life. For women who cannot or don't want to use hormones, there are options for you too, but HRT is safe and effective. Talk to your doctor about what treatments could be good options for you.

We have evolved to extend life beyond menopause, so we need to consider the benefits of treating menopause throughout life, especially in the transition time when symptoms can be so severe. If symptoms are translating into poor performance at work—or any aspect of your life—know that you have options, and you can take charge.

You are valuable because you are you, and your happiness and health matter. Find a trusted doctor, and together, you can make a plan to not just survive menopause, but thrive.

Looking for support during menopause? Meet with an OBGYN to talk about your wellbeing today

About the Author

Andrea Palmer, MD, is an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth.

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