Woman, menopause and working life

Joint pain, insomnia, palpitations, headache, sweating? Do you feel like you are suddenly losing your competence, skills and professional confidence?
Middle-aged women start to experience all or some of these symptoms as well as melancholy out of the blue. Many associate these symptoms with their current life situation or ageing and do not realise that they have to do with menopause.

 

An average Finnish woman enters menopause in their fifties but the production of oestrogen starts to gradually decrease years prior to the actual menopause. This is known as premenopause. The symptoms of premenopause are not always easy to identify yourself. Many patients seek help for insomnia that has a negative impact on their quality of life and coping at work. On average, menopausal symptoms last 7.5 years, and few women experience menopause without any symptoms.

Steering through working life in the middle of menopause

What is something that every workplace should understand about the impact of menopause on a woman’s life?  At best, menopause can be a gate to a new, refreshing stage of life that gives you an opportunity to pause and explore your personal needs and dreams and improve your time management. On the other hand, menopausal symptoms can lessen your well-being, life quality and work ability significantly.

Menopause has a wide range of symptoms, with the most common being hot flashes, joint and muscle pain, irritability and sleeping problems. Shift work and menopause are often a particularly difficult combination. An irregular sleep pattern and waking several times in the early hours, which is typical in menopause, reduce your energy and work ability even further. The constant lack of sleep decreases your concentration and mood and increases irritability. Good shift planning can support recovery. A short shift cycle helps maintain a regular circadian rhythm, and working one night shift at a time instead of two or three consecutive night shifts makes recovery more efficient. You will feel more refreshed if you take a nap after an early morning shift – as long as you make sure to sleep no more than 30 minutes.

It can be difficult to bring up menopausal symptoms at work, even though the symptoms impact one’s work performance significantly. More information and open discussion is needed to increase awareness of menopause both in working life and in general in our society. “How are you doing?” and “How do you feel?” are simple, everyday questions that open an opportunity to talk about menopausal symptoms. You do not have to be left alone with your symptoms. Help and support is available to make sure you get a positive start to the most rewarding, productive and creative stage of your adult life.

 

Occupational health helps identify menopausal symptoms

The start time of menopause is individual, and the symptoms often come suddenly and without asking. Many struggle to connect their symptoms of insomnia, melancholy and undefined pain to menopause. It is recommended to discuss even the most obscure symptoms with the occupational health physician or nurse, because there are many ways to relieve the symptoms and make your life easier.

The identification of symptoms and timely treatment are also essential to maintaining your work ability and well-being at work. For the first time ever, menopause has been included in the Government programme. Finland aims to improve the identification of menopausal symptoms and support of the work ability of menopausal women through occupational health care. Here at Pihlajalinna, our goal is to identify and address all work ability risks.

We take care of you

It is important to pay special attention to your personal well-being and coping at work and treat yourself with kindness. Take a moment to consider if you enjoy your job, what helps you recover at work and what helps you stay energetic after the working day. Now is the time to stop performing in your spare time and immerse yourself in refreshing creative hobbies. Dance, painting, handicrafts and needlework, writing, exercise, meeting with friends – do what you love. Instead of a hard workout, spend time in nature or tend to your garden for a more refreshing form of exercise. Do not be left alone with menopausal symptoms. Help and support is available.

Veera Lange
Service Manager, Pihlajalinna Mental Health Services
Expert CBT-I Insomnia Therapist (SUS)

 

Read more about the topic:
No need to persevere with menopausal symptoms (in Finnish)
Towards menopause – Identify and relieve your premenopausal symptoms (in Finnish)
Premenopause (in Finnish)

Booking

Do premenopausal symptoms impede your quality of life? It is recommended to discuss even the most obscure symptoms with the occupational health physician or nurse, because there are many ways to relieve the symptoms and make your life easier. Book an appointment here.


Menopause specialist services at Pihlajalinna

 

 

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