Silent sufferers of early menopause unite

Women as young as 28, experiencing the life-altering impacts of early menopause, have shared their stories with researchers to help educate and empower others.

Researchers from Monash University and RMIT worked with 30 women and Healthtalk Australia to launch an online resource, addressing a lack of information and awareness of early menopause, affecting 10 per cent of Australian women before the age of 45.

One woman who experienced menopause at the age of just 23 was among those who shared their stories about the impact of early menopause on their health, personal lives and relationships.

The website aims to inform and support women undergoing the challenges of early menopause, and educate health practitioners treating women with the under-recognised health condition

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

Endocrinologist and project investigator, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor Amanda Vincent, from Monash University, said 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,” Associate Professor Vincent 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.”

Associate Professor Vincent was part of a team led by Professor Helena Teede (Director, Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, Monash University) and Professor Renata Kokanović (Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, Social & Global Studies Centre, RMIT University).

The Healthtalk Australia resource on women’s experiences of early menopause presents the stories of 30 women aged between 28 and 51 years, from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds living in Victoria.

Professor Kokanović, also Director of Heathtalk Australia, explained, “Our resources are co-produced by people with lived experience, expert clinicians and social researchers in health.”

They share their stories about diagnosis, symptoms, long-term health effects, treatments, experiences with health services and health practitioners.

Professor Kokanović said the online resources help to empower women with early menopause by providing access to quality information and other people's stories.

“We are 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," Professor Kokanović said.

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

Healthtalk Australia produces digital health resources featuring a range of health and illness experiences based on rigorous qualitative research and accompanied by evidence-based clinical health information and other resources.