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IHE Report
/Costs and disease burden
Malmberg C, Althin R, Olofsson S

Productivity loss related to vasomotor symptoms (VMS) during menopausal transition among women in the Nordics

Menopause is a biological process which occurs in all women. It marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years and usually occurs between the ages of 45 to 55 years. Menopause is recognised to have occurred when menstruation has ceased for 12 consecutive months.

Menopause is associated with a number of symptoms which all can significantly impair women’s quality of life. The most common symptoms are vasomotor symptoms (VMS) such as hot flushes and night sweats. Affecting women in their productive years, these symptoms lead to a significant burden in the form of productivity loss due to absence from work (absenteeism) and impairment while at work (presenteeism). Up until now, there is a lack of studies examining this burden in the Nordic countries.

The objective of this study was to estimate the productivity loss of women with moderate to severe VMS during menopausal transition in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden).

Costs associated with absence from or impairment at work were included. Estimates on absenteeism, presenteeism and prevalence of moderate to severe VMS were derived from a study of VMS including Nordic countries. Information on work time, employment and labour costs were derived from public European statistics.

  • The estimated annual number of hours of productivity loss, including absenteeism and presenteeism due to moderate to severe VMS, varied from approximately 95 hours in Denmark to 165 hours in Norway.
  • Impairment while at work accounted for the larger share of hours, with 65% in Denmark and 80% to 90% in the other countries.
  • Annual per person costs for this productivity loss varied from approximately €4,600 in Denmark to €8,700 in Norway.
  • Annual population costs varied from approximately €13 million in Iceland to €290 million in Norway.
  • For all the Nordic countries together, the annual population costs amount to approximately €865 million.

This study has shown that moderate to severe VMS in menopausal women leads to an economic burden related to productivity loss in the Nordic countries, resulting in a loss of on average 2.5-4 weeks per postmenopausal woman per year. There is a potential for reducing the burden associated with moderate to severe VMS to the benefit both to the society and to the individual woman.

IHE REPORT 2024:9, IHE: Lund, Sweden