Influence of Menopausal Symptoms on Perceived Work Ability Among Women in Ekiti State, Nigeria

Friday, 17 March 2017: 4:05 PM

Aanuoluwapo Olajubu, MSc, BNSc
Adekemi Eunice Olowokere, PhD, MSc, BNsc
Deborah Oluwanifemi Amujo, BNSc
Department of Nursing Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Background: In recent years, Africa has experienced escalation in women participation in nation building. Women constitute about 45% of the over 50-year old work force in virtually all forms of employment. In the quest to tackle the challenges of an ageing population, employers have sought to retain and increase the number of mature women at work. Over the years, there has been an increased participation of women and the ageing profile of labour market in many industrialized nations. However, while these women are busy taking up paid employments, they have also been transiting through a major period of their lives – the menopause.

Associated with the various perceptions surrounding the menopause, this normal physiological event has been viewed as a syndrome and more recently as a newly discovered deficiency disease. Women experiencing this normal end of reproduction are thought to experience regrets and signs of depression and are also known to present with a broad range of accompanying symptoms. The typical menopausal woman is therefore perceived as growing old, beset with psychosocial complaints, experiencing major physical changes, losing cultural significance and generally being a burden on medical resources.

The concept of work ability was developed in the early 1980s in Finland and was adopted by various European and Asian countries. Work ability may be described as how good the worker is at present, in the near future, and how able is he/she to do his/her work with respect to the work demands, health and mental resources. Decreased work performance in working places and various arms of government affects the productivity and takes its toll on the nation’s economy and development. The effect of the stress on the women also decreases life expectancy and increase health challenges among the ageing population.

Perception and knowledge of women about menopause has been studied, however, there is paucity of data on the influence of menopausal symptoms on work ability and the coping strategies employed by women.

This study therefore aimed at investigating the menopausal symptoms experienced by women of menopausal age in Ekiti State, Nigeria and its influence on their perceived work ability. It also explored women’s experiences of working through menopausal transition and the influence of menopausal symptoms on perceived work ability

Method: The study employed a descriptive cross-sectional research design. The study was conducted in Ekiti State University Ado Ekiti, among working class women within the age range of 45-60 years who had experienced at least 12 continuous months of amenorrhea. A sample size of 200 was calculated and samples were drawn proportionately from the three units of the University; main campus (150), health center (20) and staff school (30). The lists of all the nurses working in the facilities were collected as the sampling frame, from which the samples were drawn. A semi structured questionnaire adapted from the Greene’s climacteric scale and the work ability index was used to assess menopausal symptoms and work ability respectively. The questionnaire was distributed to women aged 45 and above in various section of the institution.

Result: Findings revealed that majority of the women were experiencing one menopausal symptom or the other. Higher percentage experienced headaches, muscle or joint pain, hot flashes, sweating at night, loss of interest in sex and tachycardia, while very few people had symptoms like crying spells and depression. The severity of these symptoms however was high for vasomotor symptoms which includes hot flashes and night sweats. About two-third of the respondents (62%) perceived that they have a moderate work ability, 27% perceived excellent work ability while 11% perceived low work ability. The Pearson correlation coefficient showed a positive significant relationship between menopausal symptoms and perceived work ability.

Conclusion: The study concluded that menopausal symptoms does not have a negative influence on work ability of the respondents.