Most HR leaders have developed programs and support for pregnant employees, and many have considered their teams' fertility and family-forming needs, too. But less attention has been paid to the role hormones play later in life. Menopause and low testosterone (low T) can significantly impact productivity and general health — but are rarely discussed in the workplace. This stigma can lead to employees suffering in silence and, in some cases, ultimately leaving their roles.
Just as employers have supported employees going through fertility and pregnancy journeys, HR leaders can also provide resources that help employees manage this life stage.
Menopause symptoms can impact productivity and turnover
Creating a supportive environment starts with understanding how symptoms impact daily life. 1.3 million females in the U.S. enter menopause each year. The average age of menopause — when someone hasn’t had a menstrual cycle for 12 months — is 51, but symptoms can start up to a decade before. That means more employees than you might expect are managing not only well-known symptoms like hot flashes but sleep loss and mood-related symptoms, too.
These symptoms can be seriously disruptive: 40% of those going through menopause said that symptoms interfered with their job performance weekly. Nearly one in five even considered leaving their job because of a lack of support.
Part of the problem is that while menopause symptoms are common, receiving treatment is not. 42% of women say they’ve never discussed menopause with a health provider, and only one in five women have received a referral to a menopause specialist. This is due in part to the fact that in the U.S. healthcare system, training around menopause is limited. Most medical schools don’t teach students about menopause. Just 20% of OB/GYN residency programs provide any kind of menopause training — and most are elective.
Menopause and low T are linked to other conditions
Unmanaged menopause symptoms impact more than just work performance. Though a natural part of aging, menopause also signals a time when people are at a higher risk for hypertension, cholesterol disorders, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
And while less discussed, low T in males can also involve disruptive symptoms. Testosterone deficiency is seen in around 30% of males over 40. More than 30 conditions and other factors besides aging lead to low T, complicating diagnosis and treatment. Studies show that males with low T have higher rates of other comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Ensuring employees have access to providers knowledgeable in hormonal aging can help them manage symptoms and address or prevent other associated conditions.
Supportive resources for menopause and low T in the workplace can help
Many of the same types of resources that support employees going through other hormonal health journeys are also valuable for managing menopause and low T symptoms. These include:
- Flexible time off for symptom management and doctor’s appointments. Creating an environment in which employees feel comfortable taking time off is valuable for supporting all fertility health journeys.
- Access to a vetted network of providers. Specific training in menopause is limited in the medical community. Through a resource like Carrot, employees have access to a vetted network of providers with experience managing menopause and low T symptoms as well as telehealth support.
- Community support. The stigma associated with menopause can make symptoms harder to deal with. Employee resource groups or access to group support, such as through Carrot, can help people experiencing menopause symptoms connect with others going through the same experience.
Hormonal aging doesn’t have to define this life stage. In fact, surveys of women in their 40s and 50s report feeling more confident and in control of their careers during this time than a decade before. Employers have the opportunity to provide resources that help ease some of the challenges associated with hormonal aging and empower employees to continue enjoying their careers.
Carrot provides deep, equitable support for all journeys, including menopause and low T. Get in touch with us to learn more about supporting your workforce.