Women Working in Night Shifts May Run Risk Of Early Menopause

Woman Working Late
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Several medical professionals have over the years indicated that working in night shifts may lead to physical and mental health problems and concerns..

Yet, the demanding work environments today force several men and women to work through the night, ignoring the caution.

Corroborating this concern, a recent study published in the journal, Human Reproduction stated that women who do night shifts even occasionally are at a higher risk of early menopause, which can also lead to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and memory problems.

The research team studied more than 80,000 nurses who worked in night shifts every month for over 22 years in addition to day and evening shifts. However, If they had done rotating night shifts for more than 20 years, the risk rose to 73 per cent.

Lead author David Stock, from the University of Dalhousie in Canada, said, “For those women who went through menopause before the age of 45, shift work seemed to be particularly vital. This could be owing to disruption of their circadian rhythms, stress or fatigue.”

Thus, women may also experience early menopause due to the stress of working late at night. Moreover, stress hormones are also believed to disrupt sex hormones like oestrogen. Also, this could also increase the possibility of a woman stopping ovulation.

Speaking to Asha Gaikwad, Call centre executive, says. “I have been working in night shifts foe the past two years. I have developed many problems due to my menstrual cycles becoming irregular, TSH level has increased more than expected and often mood disorders that are hampering my social relationships.

My doctor has already told me that there is no permanent solution to the problem unless and until the work timings are changed. No matter how deep sleep is during the day, the perfect sleep is only during the night, she added.

Speaking to Pune365, a city professional, Nirija who works in Night shift remarked, “I have gained almost 7-8 kgs from the time I have started working in night shifts.

My appetite has been the same but the reason for the sudden weight gain is apparently some hormonal imbalance, despite having a balanced diet and not eating any junk food!

Responding to this Dr Savita, Gynaecologist at a city-based Hospital shares, “Working in the night shift forces your body to work against the natural circadian rhythm. Your body is adapted to sleep in the night from the time you were born to now. You followed the same routine till the time you started working through the night.

Night time sleep is extremely important for your overall health- It helps you be well rested, reduces your stress, repairs your injuries, controls blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy.

Dr Savita further explains, “Sleep habits affects the blood pressure and circulation which increases the risk of heart ailments.

Working in the night also takes a toll on your mental health and can cause mood disorders, increase stress and could also lead to depression.

Major imbalance in hormone production is caused due to working in night shifts which could lead to obesity, diabetes and menstrual delays. Metabolism is monitored by your hormones called leptin- It plays an important role in maintaining your weight, insulin and blood sugar. Irrespective of your diet, it the hormones are imbalanced your chances of weight gain are high.

The only solution to the problem is working in rotational shifts and the roaster should be designed from morning to afternoon and then to the night shift. Sudden changes in the shift can also hamper your sleep pattern.

The person making the duty roster should design the weekly schedule taking into account the previous shift the employee was working on.

Also, sleeping in the right environment can help avoid the problems arising from night shifts.  The room should be cool, dark and have a quiet environment.

Simple steps like this can help you get a good sleep and avoid health issues to a certain extent. Savita added.


#All views reflected in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Ankita Malekar

Ankita Malekar

A talkative tiny speck in the world of Media, with an itch for travel and paws.
Ankita Malekar