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#Meno@Work Series: How does perimenopause/menopause affects us professionally?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023


meno@work

LET'S FACE IT: Our professional lives only get busier as we grow older. As we take on more responsibilities in both our home and work lives, the hectic nature of our jobs in Singapore makes it hard to juggle a good, healthy work-life balance.


On top of all this, we now have to contend with icky menopausal symptoms that threaten to overwhelm and make our lives at the workplace harder than necessary.


In our previous article, we have explained the various symptoms of menopause that appear as we grow older.

  • Do you find yourself getting more irritable and distracted at your workplace?

  • Ever feel like your colleagues and associates fail to understand how much stress your body is going through, heaping the same amount of work on you while you are struggling to keep up?

All while menopause is wreaking havoc on your mental health and physical body?


Before we can address such issues, we first have to look at how menopausal symptoms affect our workplace performance.


THE PRIMER: MENOMATTERS@WORK

Physical unpleasantness

As we have gone through prior, menopause is when the body is transitioning away from monthly menstruation as one enters their later years. With the body suffering from hot flashes, fatigue and joint pain, these affect one’s ability to concentrate at work.


What’s worse, it even PREVENTS one from being able to get a good night’s sleep, or to rest up well, without being annoyingly interrupted by such physical symptoms. It goes without saying that one’s workplace performance will be negatively affected by these.


Cognitive slowdown

No, we don’t mean it literally. Cognitively, the hormonal changes in one’s body throws its mental systems into disarray. One might find themselves becoming MORE forgetful; maybe they were super conscientious BEFORE perimenopause struck them, and now they find themselves barely able to concentrate on important work tasks.


Worst cases are when one suffers from brain fog, impairing their previously quick-witted and problem-solving minds. All of these will affect one’s workplace performance the most, drastically decreasing productivity!


Emotional irritability

The word “annoying” doesn’t seem to cut it when one already is suffering physically. Throw in a lack of understanding colleagues, together with an unconducive environment for rest (especially in non-airconditioned offices), your ability to work well with your team is understandably affected.


This can once again be traced back to hormonal changes and the physical and mental effects of menopause that naturally results in emotional volatility.


BUT... WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTOR?

Yet with all of these affecting one’s workplace performance, the biggest contributor to one’s potential headache is still the lack of understanding, or even the active discrimination that happens in the workplace towards women who are going through menopause. Many employers and colleagues alike are not aware of the severe effects of menopause that some women have to endure on top of the stress of their jobs.


In fact, offices LACKING access to accommodations that would make the process of going through menopause much easier, such as cooling devices or flexible work schedules, is NOT an uncommon sight.


Coupled with the expectations Singaporeans have of having a good professional work ethic, as well as a growing, but still LOW, regard for the mental health of workers, it is no wonder that workplace discrimination against women going through menopause is still such a PERSISTENT social issue.


In our next issue, we look towards how one can begin to raise awareness regarding the difficulties women going through menopause face in the workforce, all while trying to combat the discrimination that comes with it.


Stay tuned for our article next week!


 

Important Notes:


This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for specific advice on your health.


This article has not been reviewed by any medical professionals or legal bodies.




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