Symptoms of menopause in women in Ireland go well beyond hot flashes, with more than half reporting fatigue, lack of energy, insomnia, brain fog, changes in weight or body shape and changes in periods, new research revealed today.
The Department of Health-commissioned research, pioneered by Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly, comes along with the launch of a new awareness campaign around menopause.
The results show how what is traditionally referred to as “life transformation” affects women.
Three-quarters of women over 35 are either perimenopausal, in the process of menopause, or past menopause.
They can experience up to seven symptoms at a time and for 17pc these can be severe.
More than half describe it as a negative experience and for many the symptoms are constant or occasional.
As many as 86 percent reported it had a major impact on their lives.
About 28 percent of women going through menopause say they would like to speak to their manager at work about it.
The Minister said the new awareness campaign is a direct response to Irish women’s call for more knowledge and understanding about menopause, and better access to accurate information and support so they can proactively manage their experience.
“It will raise awareness of menopause and its associated symptoms and encourage open conversations to break down the stigma associated with this stage of life.
“It includes a 30-second ad on national and local radio, print ads in national newspapers and magazines, outdoor ads on digital displays and bus stops across the country, and ads on digital and social media.”
A one stop shop for information is available at gov.ie/menopause.
Mr Donnelly said: “I’ve worked hard to provide services and support for women going through perimenopause and menopause.
“There are now four menopause clinics treating 25 percent of women who need medical treatment for their menopause symptoms. Two more clinics are scheduled to open before the end of the year.
“While menopause directly affects half of our population, we all know someone who goes through it, whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague. This campaign and website will allow everyone to open the conversation about menopause and eradicate any stigma or secrecy surrounding it.”
Chief Nursing Officer Rachel Kenna pointed out that “We know that women struggle with multiple symptoms, not just temperature regulation and menstrual changes most commonly associated with menopause, but fatigue, joint pain, insomnia, itchy skin and brain fog.
“This campaign provides information for those experiencing perimenopause and menopause, helping them recognize their symptoms and feel empowered to seek the support they need.
“The cohort of menopausal women may also be struggling with stressors associated with childcare, elderly parents and work. It is important that they take time for themselves and that they are supported by their partners, families, friends and colleagues.”
dr Deirdre Lundy, Clinical Director of the National Maternity Hospital Complex Menopause Service, added: “Most patients experiencing menopausal symptoms can get advice and treatment in the community from their GP, nurse or family planning clinic.
“Unfortunately, patients with certain medical conditions, including thrombosis, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease and hormone-sensitive cancers, are advised to see a ‘menopausal specialist’ to discuss treatment options.
“I run one of these complex menopause services and am excited to see more specialized menopause clinics opening across the country.”
dr Deirdre Collins, GP and ICGP board members, said GPs are now at the forefront of menopausal care, as part of continuity of care in general medicine.
The Irish College of General Practice has published a comprehensive new guide to menopause management in general practice, which will guide GPs from initial consultation through perimenopause and menopause.
“This guide is a milestone in the treatment of menopause in general practice,” she said.
“It includes information on diagnosis, lifestyle interventions, HRT prescribing and most importantly, alternative options to HRT, as well as specific advice for women with a history of breast cancer.
“This specific support for GPs, coupled with Menopause Awareness Week, provides an opportunity for all of us to change the narrative around menopause care in a holistic, well-rounded way.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/new-research-reveals-full-extent-of-symptoms-suffered-by-women-going-through-menopause-as-awareness-campaign-launched-42066853.html New research reveals the full extent of the symptoms suffered by menopausal women as an awareness campaign is launched