Should Women Tell Coworkers if They're Menopausal?

Menopausal symptoms can be misinterpreted at work. Should women just explain themselves?

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Menopausal symptoms can be a real drag, especially at work. Hot flashes and memory glitches can look pretty bad during a board meeting or employee review.

A Newhouse News Service story on menopausal women at work raised the question: To tell or not to tell? If employees misinterpret menopausal symptoms as signs of your disapproval, shouldn't you just tell them what you're going through? The story quotes one woman as saying: "I don't worry about what people think about me going through menopause. I'm more concerned about what they'll think if they don't know."

Of course, menopause may be a strange topic to bring up at the morning meeting.

But in many work cultures, it's inappropriate to discuss your health or personal topics, said Ruth Haag, a management consultant and coach in Sandusky, Ohio.

"It's like having hemorrhoids at work," Haag said. "Nobody wants to hear about it."

She cautions women against sabotaging themselves by sharing too much personal information. Many people experience problems like sleep disruption as they age, regardless of menopause. And younger employees may be sleep-deprived due to small children or late nights out, Haag noted.

So what do you think? Should women tell? Would you rather know?