10 Tips for Managing Menopause Symptoms on the Job

You’ve probably heard it before – menopause is an expected and natural part of a woman’s life. But “natural” doesn’t always mean pleasant or welcome. Drenching hot flashes, mood swings, and difficulty focusing can make getting through your workday a bit tricky at best.   

In case you hadn’t noticed, our women’s health care experts at Capital Women’s Care are all women. This means we’re facing, going through, or have reached the other side of menopause. Here’s what we suggest about managing menopause symptoms at work.

1. See your doctor  

It never hurts to check in with your gynecologist at Capital Women’s Care when you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms that interfere with your workday. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be a candidate for hormone replacement or other medications that can ease your discomfort and take you more gently through the menopause experience.

2. Change the climate

Hot flashes are the most commonly reported menopause symptom in the workplace. Turning down the temperature in your office is a simple but highly effective way of managing the heat they generate. If you’re not in control of the thermostat or share your workspace with others, use a desktop fan at your workstation that you can turn off and on as needed. Remember that it’s best to address a hot flash when it’s just starting, if you can.

3. Dress layered and loose

Dressing in layers is a simple and often very effective way of controlling hot flashes. Start with a sleeveless shell that’s work appropriate and top that with a blouse, sweater, or light jacket that can come off as necessary. Keep your layers loose since tight clothing can be restrictive and increase your body temp.   

4. Choose light and natural over heavy or synthetic

Build your clothing layers with lightweight fabrics such as cotton and avoid heavy wools or other heat-trapping natural materials. Do your best to stay away from polyester and other synthetics that don’t “breathe,” because they can send your body temperature up and increase sweating.

 

5. Reduce the effects of stress

There’s not much you can do about preventing stress from entering the workplace, but you can take steps to reduce its impact on your menopause experience. Stress is known to trigger hot flashes, increase your risk of depression, disturb your sleep, and otherwise negatively impact your overall health.

Sign up for some traditional yoga classes and move through a few poses before you head to work, over lunch, or even during a break. Yoga is designed to relax and soothe away tension. You’ll also get a nice workout that leaves you feeling toned, flexible, and energized.   

6. Take time to breathe

Speaking of relaxation, deep breathing is known to relax you and can stop a hot flash or greatly reduce its intensity. When you feel one coming on, relax your shoulders, breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds.   

7. Snack healthy

We know you may be craving chocolate for your snacks but reach for healthier alternatives throughout the day. Fresh vegetable sticks or sliced fruit can satisfy your appetite and prevent the irritability and other symptoms caused by the sugar crash that comes with indulging in overly sweet snacks. And while you’re focused on nutrition, consider reducing your caffeine intake, which is known to trigger hot flashes.  

8. Exercise regularly

Routine exercise is especially important during menopause. Physical activity is known to elevate and balance mood, improve sleep habits, and reduce anxiety. It also helps you maintain your weight, muscle strength, and flexibility, and it decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions that may become a factor with menopause.    

9. Share your story

We don’t recommend sending out an office-wide memo to talk about your menopause symptoms, but it can be very helpful to share your story with a trustworthy female colleague or supervisor. It’s often an emotional relief and stress reducer to express your feelings to another about what’s happening in your life.   

10. Sleep well

Sleep disturbances caused by night sweats are another common issue noted during menopause and often result in daytime sleepiness that can interfere with your work. Night sweats are simply hot flashes experienced at night. Try dressing your bed in layers you can easily remove as necessary and use a bedside fan to keep cool.

For more guidance and encouragement as you move through menopause, schedule a visit with a provider at Capital Women’s Care. You can rely on our expertise as women and physicians who are passionate about your health throughout all the phases of life. Just call one of the offices in Arlington or McLean, Virginia, or use the online booking button.

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