In a survey of 622 menopausal female executives, the great majority indicated that symptoms related to menopause were causing problems in their daily lives.
The top three menopausal symptoms were hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia, experienced by 84 percent, 77 percent, and 72 percent of women, respectively. Fifty-two percent of women experiencing both night sweats and insomnia felt that menopause was worse then expected.
The findings come from the second annual Menopause at Work survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, involving members of the National Association of Female Executives.
“We found that hot flashes and night sweats are experienced most frequently and that menopause-related sleep insomnia is most bothersome,” Dr. James A. Simon of George Washington University and past president of the North American Menopause Society told Reuters Health.
Eighty-eight percent of women with menopause-related insomnia said they often felt tired at work, 62 percent said they were irritable, and 44 percent felt they were not performing at the top of their game.
“It’s not surprising,” noted Dr. Simon, “that women experiencing night sweats are losing sleep, but it is interesting to see how much sleep is being lost - three or more hours per night - and what impact it has on women during the day - fatigue, irritability, decreased performance at work.”
Furthermore, “It was also interesting to learn that 31 percent of women said that menopause-related insomnia adversely affects their romantic lives as well,” he added.
Some women sail through menopause with no symptoms and some have a more difficult time with it, Dr. Simon explained. “There are approximately 52 million women approaching menopause and about one third of women will experience moderate to severe symptoms that disturb their daily lives.”
Women, Dr. Simon said, need to know that there are therapies available to lessen the symptoms of menopause and “each and every woman deserves individualized attention and an approach to treating symptoms that is tailored just for them. The best advice I can offer is to talk to your health care provider about your symptoms.”
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD