Study finds reduced work ability among women with early menopause


Discover how the early transition to menopause can affect women's work ability and workforce participation, shedding light on crucial considerations for both healthcare providers and employers.

Study finds reduced work ability among women with early menopause | Image Credit: © loran4a - © loran4a -

Study finds reduced work ability among women with early menopause | Image Credit: © loran4a - © loran4a -

Early menopause transition may impact a woman’s work ability and time spent in the workforce, according to a recent study published in Menopause, the journal of The Menopause Society.1


  1. Early menopause can hinder women's work ability, raising concerns for workforce participation.
  2. Symptoms such as hot flashes may affect both quality of life and work performance.
  3. Early menopause increases risks of cardiovascular issues and osteoporosis, potentially impacting work well-being.
  4. Women with early menopause report poorer work ability and face more disability and unemployment days.
  5. Addressing menopause symptoms and offering workplace flexibility can improve both personal and professional aspects of affected women's lives.

Working ability following menopause transition is important to understand because most women will remain in the workforce for years after menopause transition. Early menopause, experienced by approximately 5% to 10% of women, refers to when menopause transition occurs in a woman aged under 45 years.

While women aged 45 years can be expected to remain in the workforce for almost 20 more years, menopause transition causes symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats in approximately 80% of women. These symptoms may adversely impact quality of life.

Additional adverse effects associated with estrogen deficiency caused by menopause include increased cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis risks, unfavorable body composition changes, and musculoskeletal pain. However, there is little data evaluating the impact of menopause on work ability and well-being at work.

Investigators conducted a study to evaluate the impact of early menopause on work ability.2 Participants included patients from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 study's 46-year follow-up.

The Work Ability Score was used to assess perceived work ability in these patients, with scores from 0 to 7 considered bad and scores from 8 to 10 considered good. National registers were evaluated for data about disability days, unemployment days, and disability pensions.

Women with menopause status at 46 years of age were more often smokers and had a lower level of education. An odds ratio of 1.41 for poor perceived work ability was observed among these women compared to those without menopause status, along with incidence rate ratios for disability and unemployment days of 1.09 and 1.16, respectively, during follow-up.

A 7-year hazard ratio of 1.72 was observed for disability pensions among women with menopause status. Overall, results indicated poorer perceived work ability and work participation and higher disability pension odds among women with early menopause.

Investigators recommended health care professionals provide effective treatment for menopause symptoms to improve women’s quality of health.1 Additionally, employers should consider increased flexibility for the working conditions of women with menopause status.

“These findings reinforce the importance of addressing bothersome menopause symptoms to optimize a woman’s quality of life, both personally and professionally,” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, medical director for The Menopause Society.


  1. Does an early menopause transition cause women to leave the workforce sooner? The Menopause Society. March 13, 2024. Accessed March 14, 2024.
  2. Saarinen T, Savukoski SM, Pesonen P, et al. Climacteric status at age 46 is associated with poorer work ability, lower 2-year participation in working life, and a higher 7-year disability retirement rate: a Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 study. Menopause. 2024. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000002327
Related Videos
Unlocking therapeutic strategies for menopausal cognitive decline | Image Credit:
Navigating menopause care: Expert insights from ACOG 2024 | Image Credit:
New data shows elinzanetant's efficacy in treating menopausal symptoms | Image Credit:
Navigating vasomotor symptoms in breast cancer patients | Image Credit:
Revolutionizing menopause management: A deep dive into fezolinetant | Image Credit:
Hot flashes poorly impact sleep quality | Image Credit:
How to manage bone health in midlife women | Image Credit: -
Mary Jane Minkin, MD, discusses The Menopause Society 2023 Annual Meeting | Image Credit: Yale School of Medicine
Highlights from The Menopause Society 2023 Annual Meeting  | Image Credit:
How fezolinetant changes management of hot flashes | Image Credit:
Related Content
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.