Pvolve has added menopause benefits to its wellness offering

Fertility benefits and family-strengthening programs have become table issues for employers looking to support their workforce, but a growing number of providers and employees are scrambling to offer care during the next stage of reproductive health: menopause.

Nine out of 10 working women said menopause affects their work performance, according to an AARP survey, which estimates that companies lose $150 billion a year in lost productivity. Yet 99% of women in the United States do not have access to an employer-sponsored menopause care benefit.

“It’s an area that no one has really focused on, and there’s not much available for employees,” says Maya Bodinger, vice president of business development at P.volve. “The transition from menopause can last anywhere from four to 12 years. It’s not just a year or two as we traditionally think of reproductive health.”

Read more: Carrot Fertility supports aging workers with menopause and low testosterone benefits

Like any biological change, menopause comes with its own set of symptoms, the most common being brain fog, cognitive impairment, fatigue and mood swings. Twelve percent of working women said their menopausal symptoms were debilitating, according to data from market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

“From a workplace perspective, that can be more than a decade of an employee’s time in the workforce,” says Bodinger. “So it’s really important to make sure people have the tools they need to stay productive.”

For employers who already partner with P.volve to provide health and wellness benefits and fitness classes to their employees, Moving with Menopause will automatically be made available to its female and trans employee base. The program, which is a digital resource, speaks to and educates employees on ways to prevent loss of muscle mass due to aging and hormonal changes, increased bone density and heart health as well as the improvement of the pelvic floor and sexual health.

Read more: Employers Looking to Expand Women’s Health Coverage Can’t Forget About Menopause

“Ten years ago there was a movement for fertility benefits for women of childbearing age,” says Bodinger. “But many working women are past that age and also face issues and currently have nothing to support those women.”

Train their employees is only half the battle, according to Antonietta Vicario, vice president of talent and training at P.volve. Employers also need to understand how menopause can affect their workforce, and be prepared and open to having discussions around the subject.

“Menopause is taboo, but that’s changing,” she says. “The more people understand what is going on in their body, the more empowered they feel and it will show in the workplace. They will understand how they feel and receive the tools and strategies [to deal with] no matter what they are going through.

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Richard V. Johnson