During a series of workshops and Q&A sessions, recently hosted by leading well-being provider OneCare Solutions, under their corporate wellness programme, one clear theme emerged: Menopause at work must be taken more seriously in the corporate environment.
“Women above 40 are the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace and are often in leadership positions while also dealing with the challenges of menopause,” says Marinos Kokkinis, Managing Director of OneCare Solutions. “Supporting women in this transitional period of their lives is fundamental in order to ensure productivity and continuity with the highly experienced women in senior positions.”
OneCare Solutions is a leading health and wellbeing platform whose primary offering is a collection of services for the maritime industry including, trainings, medical advisory and medical inventory management, telemedicine, nutrition consulting, public health support and mental health support to seafarers around the globe.
During the ‘Menopause at Work’ event, sessions led by doctors and specialists covered topics including osteoporosis, sexual and mental health, diet, and exercise. The sessions provided practical advice for women and also gave an overview of the type of support an employer can offer, including flexible working arrangements, exercise classes at work, and access to nutritionists and mental health support.
Endocrinologist Dr. Stella Kaouri discussed menopause and osteoporosis, explaining why hormone changes can produce a host of factors including increased risk of bone fractures. “During menopause oestrogen levels decrease in the body, the osteoblasts aren’t able to effectively produce bone, making the bones more fragile and brittle,” she noted. Reduced bone density can lead to falls and bone fractures that result in work absences, decreased productivity, and disability. As counter measures, eating calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and fish can help prevent and treat osteoporosis. Staying active is also key, particularly doing muscle-strengthening exercises and pursuing training for balance and posture.
Obstetrician/gynaecologist Dr. Maro Petrou (pictured) explained the many phases of menopause including pre-menopause, perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause and highlighted the impact hormonal changes can have. Women commonly experience hot flashes, weight gain, reduced sex drive, sleep disturbance, and loss of concentration. She discussed herbal supplements and hormone replacement therapy within a context of understanding the risks versus the benefits. “Women must consult with their doctor and have a gynaecological assessment before starting any hormonal treatment,” Dr. Petrou advised.
Menopause exercise specialist Kristen Shiaelis discussed the importance of exercise, which can help reduce hot flashes, improve mood and mental health, improve sleep, reduce risk of heart disease, and help with weight management. “A combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises may offer the most comprehensive benefits for women going through menopause,” she notes.
Psychiatrist Dr. Katerina Mavrommatis discussed the impact that menopause can have on mental and sexual health, with menopause linked to depression and reduced sex drive. She offered advice to help women maintain their sexuality after menopause, including balanced diet, physical exercise, good sleep quality, better stress management, and educating partners about menopause. Working to improve mental health also has benefits for women’s confidence at work.
Nutritionist Stella Kakouri discussed menopause and diet, explaining that hormone changes can lead to weight gain. “During menopause, everything is about hormones,” she said. She emphasised the importance of healthy eating habits, such as staying hydrated, not skipping meals, eating a variety of foods, and limiting fatty and sugary drinks and foods. To counteract hormone changes, she advised eating foods rich in isoflavones, such as soy, lentils, and legumes as a way to “feed your hormones.”
The overall message was to raise awareness of the impact of menopause on a woman’s personal and work life. “Menopause is a milestone in a woman’s life, that can also affect her work performance. Undeniably, the organisations that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) perform better,” says Mr. Kokkinis. “Menopause must and needs to be taken seriously.”
For more information about OneCare Solutions, please visit the website, onecare.solutions.