Economics 101: Menopause (Pt. 2) – The Cost of the Care Gap
Last week’s Econ 101: Menopause (Pt.1) pulled back the curtain on the hidden cost of menopause in the workplace. Spoiler alert: menopause can cost upwards of $6,500 lost productivity per woman/year. This week: menopause & healthcare – or rather, lack of healthcare.
We don’t mean to bring down the mood, but let’s start with some sobering (menopause-related) statistics we don’t talk about enough:
- Women aged 45-54 have the highest suicide rate, yet ⅓ of gynecologists reportedly don’t screen for depression during menopause.
- Women are at risk of losing up to 20% of their bone density within five years of menopause, putting them at increased risk of osteoporosis.
- There are twice as many women with Alzheimer’s than men.
- The list goes on…
Although all women go through menopause (yes 100%), less than 20% of OB/GYN residency programs offer any menopause training at all. This leaves a majority of women (>70%) who seek treatment without proper care. Women just need to “deal” with their hot flashes because it’s a “natural time for a woman”, right? WRONG. Put into dollars and cents, women with untreated “VMS” menopause symptoms (i.e. hot flashes, night sweats, etc.) use between 82-121% more healthcare resources and cost an additional $1,336 per year than women without VMS. If that sounds small, perhaps the “$B” numbers in the chart below will change your mind?
But before we start a round of the blame game, remember: gynecologists and doctors are not responsible for this care gap. Decades of social stigma, a fragmented healthcare system that values procedures over prevention & education, and under-investment in women’s healthcare and research has led us to where we are today. It may take years to change, but we’re fighting the good fight at Elektra.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- The Giving Tree—Living in greener neighborhoods may result in later onset of menopause.
- Celebrating Black History Month—These brave, inspiring women shaped the course of U.S. history.
- Mom power—Stories from parents who raised five exceptional girls.
Updated: May 12, 2020