News: Medical expenses for menopause costs $26.6 billion a year, Mayo Clinic says

CDI Strategies - Volume 17, Issue 18

About $26.6 billion a year was spent on medical expenses related to menopause-related symptoms, such as night sweats, hot flashes, mood changes, sleep disturbances, joint aches, and cognitive difficulties, according to a recent study conducted by Mayo Clinic. These symptoms also cost another $1.8 billion each year in lost work time, with the severity of symptoms greatly predicting the odds of an adverse work outcome, HealthLeaders reported.

The study used survey responses from 4,440 women, from the ages of 45 to 60 who are primary care patients at Mayo Clinic, with a mean age of 53.9 years and the majority being white (93%), married (about 76%), and educated (59% with at least a college degree). Of the population, 13% reported at least one adverse work outcome due to menopause, and almost 11% reported missing at least one day of work in the past year because of related symptoms.

Given that middle-aged women are a large portion of the workforce, effects such as absenteeism, productivity, increased medical costs, and career setbacks thanks to menopause symptoms is significant.

“Adding to the complexity of women's experience of menopause is that the topic has been taboo, particularly in the workplace, which potentially adds to the psychological burden of symptoms,” said Ekta Kapoor, MBBS, assistant director of Mayo Clinic Women's Health and senior author of the study. “Women often fear bias, discrimination, and stigmatization, and therefore may be reluctant to disclose their menopause symptoms to their workplace managers and others. Recognizing these concerns and creating a safe workplace environment for women to discuss their health care needs may help address this.”

The study authors agreed that these findings signify a need to improve medical treatment and the support of workplaces for women in menopause. Racial and ethnic differences were also noted in the results, though the authors said further research would be required with a larger and more diverse population of women to analyze the possible disparities.

Editor’s note: To read HealthLeaders’ coverage of this story, click here. To read Mayo Clinic’s study, click here.

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