Menopausal vasomotor symptoms are associated with poor self-assessed work ability

Maturitas. 2016 May;87:33-9. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.02.003. Epub 2016 Feb 8.


Objectives: It has been hypothesised that vasomotor symptoms (VMS), the hallmark of menopause, may affect women's workplace performance. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between VMS and self-reported work ability, taking into account socio-demographic characteristics. Study design/Main Outcome measures: A national cross-sectional survey of women, aged 40-65 years, was conducted between October 2013 and March 2014. Participants provided socio-demographic and lifestyle factors and completed the Menopause Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (MENQOL) and the Work Ability Index (WAI).

Results: Of 2020 women who comprised the study sample, 1274 were in paid employment and 1263 completed the WAI. The WAI score was good-excellent for 81.5% of women and poor-moderate for 18.5%. After adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics, having any VMS was associated with greater likelihood of poor-moderate work ability [odds ratio (OR)=2.45, 95% CI 1.69-3.54]. Poorer work ability was significantly and independently associated with being un-partnered, obese or overweight, smoking, being carer and having insecure housing finance, but not with age.

Conclusions: Overall, most women functioned well at work. We observed an association suggesting a relationship not only between menopausal VMS and personal wellbeing, but also between VMS and self-assessed work ability. Although 4 in 5 women functioned well at work, recognition of the association with VMS may improve wellbeing and work performance of working women at midlife.

Keywords: Vasomotor symptoms; Women at midlife; Work ability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hot Flashes*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Performance*