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Hot flashes are what many think of when it comes to menopause, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The average age women experience menopause in the U.S. is 51 and symptoms can include irregular periods, mood swings, sleep problems, bladder issues, loss of bone density and higher cholesterol levels. And according to Mayo Clinic and a new study, working women in the U.S. may lose up to $1.8-billion a year in working time because of menopause symptoms.

The study, published this week by the Mayo Clinic, finds that there are more than 15-million women in the workplace in the U.S. between the ages of 45 and 60. Researchers worked with more than 4-thousand women in this age group and found that 15% of them have missed work or cut back on work hours because of their menopause symptoms. Just over 1% of participants report that their symptoms were so severe that they were either laid off or quit their jobs as a result.

“The topic of menopause is taboo in general, but even more so at the workplace,” explains study author and endocrinologist Dr. Ekta Kapoor. “I’ve heard from women that they don’t want to come across as a ‘complainer’ at work or they’ll bring up menopause and people will roll their eyes.” She adds that the $1.8-billion annual loss is probably an underestimate because the women in the study have access to health insurance and possible treatments, which isn’t the case for all women in the country.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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