New support for women experiencing early menopause

New support for women experiencing early menopause

A new digital resource has brought together the stories of women experiencing early menopause, helping to inform and support others facing the under-recognised condition.

Despite around 10% of Australian women under 45 experiencing early menopause, some as young as 20, there is a lack of information and awareness surrounding the condition.

Now researchers from RMIT and Monash Universities have joined forces with Healthtalk Australia to enable women aged between 28 and 51 with experience of early menopause to share their stories about the impact on their health, personal and work lives and relationships. 

The website aims to inform and support women living through the challenges of early menopause and better infomr the health practitioners treating them.

Victorian Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, Women and Youth, The Hon Gabrielle Williams MP, launched the online resource today at Women's Health Victoria.

Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow Professor Renata Kokanović from the RMIT Social and Global Studies Centre said the website will help to empower women with early menopause by providing access to quality information and other people's stories.

Research fellows Dr Kate Johnston-Ataata and Dr Jacinthe Flore interviewed 30 women and 16 health practitioners and put together the digital resource.

“The women we worked with share their stories about diagnosis, symptoms, long-term health effects, treatments, experiences with health services and health practitioners, and the impact of early menopause on their personal lives and relationships,” Johnston-Ataata said.

“The website provides a comprehensive, evidence-based and accessible range of resources for women and health practitioners. It includes personal stories on film and audio, a Question Prompt List for women, and care plans for health practitioners.”

Research team with the Hon. Gabrielle Williams, Minister for Women at the launch of Healthtalk Australia's Early Menopause Digital Resource

Professor Kokanović, also the Director of Heathtalk Australia, was part of a team led by Professor Helena Teede, Director of the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, and endocrinologist and project investigator Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor Amanda Vincent from Monash University.

Vincent said that menopausal symptoms can be quite distressing – from hot flushes and night sweats to anxiety and mood swings

“Early menopause can lead to infertility, psychological distress, and increased risks of bone and heart disease at a relatively young age,” she said.

“It can also be a very lonely experience and there is a lack of reliable and accessible information for women experiencing early menopause."

“Women affected have told us heartbreaking stories about their experiences and their difficulties finding information about early menopause, its impact on their health in the short and longer-term, and reliable treatments.”

Kokanović said she was delighted to have been involved in this partnership to create a high-quality digital resource to support and inform women and health practitioners grappling with a challenging and under-recognised health condition.

“One of the strengths of Healthtalk Australia is that our resources are co-produced by people with lived experience, expert clinicians and social researchers in health."

“We hope that this platform can help equip health practitioners and the wider community to better support women in their journey.”

 

Story: Chanel Bearder

04 November 2019

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04 November 2019

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