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Economic Impact of Menopause: Individual and Collective Costs

AARP Survey of U.S. Women Ages 35-Plus and U.S. Employers

While menopause is the natural decline of reproductive hormones in women, this time in life can put them at an increased risk for a number of health conditions including heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, or Type 2 diabetes to name a few.

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But the cost of menopause is more than physical, cognitive, and emotional. Untreated menopause symptoms can interfere with worker performance, productivity, and motivation.  A national survey by AARP reveals 90% of women ages 35-plus experience one or more menopause symptoms — in fact, five different ones, on average, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. With nearly 50 million women in the U.S. labor force in that age group and symptoms often lasting up to a decade or longer, menopause can have significant economic implications on both employers and female workers, and ultimately, the U.S. economy. The Mayo Clinic estimates the costs of worker productivity losses due to menopausal symptoms to be about $1.8 billion and related health care costs total over $24 billion.

As women seek relief — medical and nonmedical — their pocketbooks also take a hit. Overall, AARP’s survey estimates that women spend about $13 billion a year to treat their menopause symptoms on several measures such as dietary supplements, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and copays for health care visits related to menopause.

Menopause can take a toll on women in the workplace. The AARP survey found that while most women are powering through their menopause symptoms on the job, with few making any significant changes to compensate, some report using various employer leave options for their menopause symptoms.  A small number have considered leaving their job or resigning because of their symptoms.

Despite their determination to do their job well while experiencing interfering symptoms, this survey shows that women need employer support and menopause-specific benefits, and employers need to hear from their female workers about their needs. Survey respondents also have high expectations in the policy arena: Most women and employers would like lawmakers to do more to ensure all women can access high-quality, personalized menopause care and treatment, including access to hormone replacement therapy.

The research highlights the need for employers, the healthcare industry, and policy makers to consider workplace benefits, resources, personalized care, and legislation to better support women through this life transition.

Key Findings

  • In aggregate, our survey findings estimate women spend over $13 billion annually on treating their menopause symptoms — over $10 billion on nonmedical treatments, over $4.5 million on copays, and over $2.7 billion on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
  • Nearly four in ten workers (38%) and less than a third of employers (31%) say menopause is not discussed at work.
  • Most employers (73%) and over half of women (54%) agree that employers need to do more to support workers in menopause.
  • And both employers (74%) and women (64%) want policy makers to do more to ensure that all women can access high-quality, personalized menopause care and treatment, including access to hormone replacement therapy.

Methodology

The September 2023 surveys (online and phone) included women ages 35 and older who have experienced at least one menopause symptom and are either currently working or have been employed in the past, and employers with 50 or more employees. The national sample of 1,510 women included an oversample of Black, Hispanic, and Asian American adults. The employer survey yielded 403 completed interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies with at least 50 employees.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Sauer at jsauer@aarp.org. For media inquiries, please contact External Relations at media@aarp.org.