For the 47 million people who enter menopause each year, comprehensive support for menopause is hard to come by. A startling few doctors are trained in menopause care—let alone feel comfortable treating menopausal symptoms. Even fewer employers offer benefits that address the unique needs of people experiencing menopause.
On top of this, stigma and shame around menopause prevail in workplaces and communities around the world, discouraging many from seeking help. However, seeing as thousands of people leave the workforce because of their menopause symptoms and companies lose billions of dollars in productivity each year, many employers are increasingly concerned with the impact untreated symptoms can have on the health and well-being of their teams.
To help organizations better support all of their employees, Maven's Menopause & Ongoing Care solution addresses the growing reproductive health needs of the midlife workforce. Read on to learn more.
Why menopause—and why now?
The events of the last three years (a global pandemic, rising inflation, the Great Resignation, and the burnout crisis, to name a few) have shown employers and health plans the importance of supporting family and reproductive health.
We've structured our Menopause & Ongoing Care solution to address the unmet reproductive health needs of members entering or experiencing their post-reproductive stage of life, based on guidelines set by ACOG, WHO, and NAMS.
Understanding menopause symptoms
Perimenopause, also commonly referred to as menopausal transition, is the period when a person’s body begins transitioning to menopause. Perimenopause can start for some people as early as their mid-30s or as late as their mid-50s, and can last for a matter of months or several years.
During this time, many women experience physical changes and symptoms. Once menopause is reached (indicated by missed periods for 12 months), symptoms can persist, and other symptoms can also arise. These will differ for each person, but common perimenopause and menopause symptoms include:
During the menopausal transition, the ovaries start reducing the hormones they produce. This disrupts the menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycles may become shorter or longer, and periods may become irregular before they stop altogether.
Vaginal dryness is a very common menopause symptom. Less estrogen is produced during perimenopause, and this can cause thinning and dryness of the vulvar and vaginal tissues. Vaginal dryness can lead to day-to-day discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse.
Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are another common menopause symptom and they can last for many years. For those who experience hot flashes, they can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and even interfere with daily life. Hot flushes are caused by a decrease in estrogen. The body responds to this by releasing higher amounts of other hormones from the glands, but these hormones affect how the brain perceives temperature, resulting in bodily temperature fluctuations.
When hot flashes occur at night, they are referred to as night sweats. They can make an individual feel hot all over their face and body and cause excessive perspiration that saturates the bed sheets.
Night sweats can cause sleep problems and the person experiencing them may even have to use a towel to dry themselves or change their pajamas. Not getting enough sleep as a result can impact mood and cause challenges in other areas of a person’s life.
There are a range of urinary symptoms that can be brought on by perimenopause and/or menopause. Some people may experience increased frequency of urination, urinary urgency, urinary incontinence, or urinary tract infections.
Due to changing hormones, mood changes are common during perimenopause. A person going through a menopausal transition may feel irritable, tearful, angry, or tense. It’s also normal to have low energy and find it difficult to concentrate. These symptoms have no pattern and can continue for years.
Between 15 and 50% of perimenopausal and menopausal individuals may experience other menopause symptoms including anxiety and depression.
Reducing menopausal symptoms
Menopause in itself does not require medical intervention. However, some treatments and steps focus on relieving and managing the symptoms. These include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction programs can help manage a variety of menopause symptoms including low mood, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. This type of talking therapy focuses on the links between physical symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and provides individuals with the tools they need to make positive changes.
Perimenopause and menopause symptoms can impact a person’s mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. However, living a more healthy lifestyle can help alleviate or better manage other symptoms including:
- Maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit or avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine, as well as spicy foods, as these can trigger hot flashes. Consider dietary supplements such as calcium and vitamin D.
- Taking regular exercise to help maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and improve overall wellbeing. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with strength training exercises.
- Reducing stress by practicing stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness to help manage mood swings and anxiety.
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water to help reduce hot flashes and maintain overall health.
- Getting plenty of rest and trying to keep to a regular sleep schedule.
- Keeping cool to relieve hot flashes and night sweats by wearing lightweight, breathable clothing, using fans, and keeping the living environment at a comfortable temperature.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
For many individuals, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or menopausal hormone therapy, may effectively reduce symptoms of menopause, especially severe hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. HRT involves taking estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progestin. However, it's important to discuss the risks and benefits of HRT with a healthcare provider, as it may not be suitable for everyone.
In addition to HRT, there are prescription drugs and other medicines, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), that may be prescribed to help manage hot flashes and mood changes. Various other medications for conditions such as high blood pressure can also help.
Some people find relief from the symptoms of menopause by using herbal supplements such as black cohosh, red clover, or evening primrose oil. However, the effectiveness of these alternative treatments varies, and it's important to discuss their use with a healthcare provider.
To help alleviate vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse, over-the-counter vaginal lubricants and moisturizers can provide relief. Some products are specifically designed for vaginal dryness caused by menopause.
What is Maven's menopause solution?
As the home base for your employees' family and reproductive health needs, Maven provides members one convenient place to seek care, find support, and manage their health journeys. Maven offers unmatched clinical outcomes and a 4:1 business ROI for retention, loyalty, cost savings, and more.
Our menopause support solution provides continuous care for people throughout their perimenopausal and menopausal journey, tailoring the experience for each individual's unique needs and symptoms. Providing employees with the menopause support they need can give them essential resources to take charge of their midlife health, significantly changing the trajectory of employees’ long-term health and career success.
Maven's patient-centered care model meets the changing needs of menopausal members in three ways:
- Dedicated care teams and care advocacy
- Unlimited access to trained specialists
- Educational resources
Dedicated care teams
Maven Menopause & Ongoing Care members have access to a care team of trained specialists to meet their unique needs. These include: OB-GYNs, mental health providers, nutritionists, physical therapists, wellness coaches, career coaches, and sex coaches. Members can also receive referrals to in-network, in-person care through their health plan.
Unlimited access to trained specialists
Maven's global digital health network provides members with unlimited access to providers spanning 30+ different specialties who truly understand and treat symptoms of menopause. They can meet with and message providers around the clock, enabling them to seek answers, care, and comfort whenever they need it. As a result, members can avoid long wait times at in-person offices and preemptively address symptoms before they impact their relationships, career, or health.
Through Maven, members can access a variety of content, classes, and community events. Maven boasts a constantly evolving library of clinically-vetted content and virtual classes to help inform and empower members.
Articles cover everything from ‘how to handle hot flashes' to ‘why self-care is critical during menopause.' Classes include things like ‘menopause 101' and ‘how to manage stress and anxiety.' And, members can attend monthly drop-in groups to connect with individuals undergoing similar experiences.
What makes Maven's solution different?
Unlike other solutions on the market, Maven gives members the autonomy to choose what care and support they need for their journey. Our unique care model emphasizes early intervention, continuous care, and community support, so that no moments are missed, and no needs are overlooked.
Because menopause is so often shrouded in silence, symptoms often go unnoticed and untreated, leading to worse outcomes. Maven's model emphasizes early intervention through ongoing engagements, whether a member reads an article about their brain fog, sees a therapist about sleep issues, or talks to a career coach about their challenges at work.
Our early intervention model allows for early identification of menopausal symptoms to provide appropriate guidance personalized to the member, including navigating the use of menopausal hormone therapy and other treatments.
Perimenopausal symptoms can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Within this period of time, which is different for everyone, your employees and members need continuous access to care. Maven provides them with a consistent home base for their care, even as their needs change.
Menopause is more than just a collection of symptoms: it's a phase of life that represents a major transition in one's identity. But because of varying stigmas and cultural norms, many are forced to endure this transition alone—without resources or answers, either. Through Maven, members can attend virtual classes and connect with individuals going through similar challenges so they never have to feel alone on this isolating journey.
Learn more about Maven
As menopause benefits become table stakes, it's crucial to have a plan in place for how your organization will support a midlife workforce. To find out how Maven can help your team get ready, check out our solution overview or request a demo today.
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