Early Menopause Research

Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstrual periods following the loss of ovarian activity and is characterized by symptoms such as hot flushes and an increased risk of osteoporosis. The average age of menopause in Australia is 51 years. However, menopause can also occur in younger women with 1% of women experiencing spontaneous premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) before the age of 40 years and 5% of women experience spontaneous early menopause before age 45 years. Turner syndrome, due to X chromosomal monosomy, is a cause of POI. Early menopause can also occur following medical treatment such as surgery or chemotherapy, affecting up to 10% of women. Early menopause occurring spontaneously secondary to medical treatments, is associated with negative impacts on psychological and physical health, both short and long term. Increasing numbers of cancer survivors highlights the importance of early menopause as a health issue. The lack of understanding of early menopause, its health impacts and treatment options amongst consumers and health professionals, potentially leads to delayed diagnosis/sub-optimal management.

Program Lead

Clinical Associate Professor Amanda Vincent is a clinician researcher with a focus on women’s health particularly early menopause. She is lead endocrinologist in the multidisciplinary Monash Health Menopause clinic and her research involves clinical and health services research related  to early menopause.

Clinical studies

Major current projects

  • Investigating hormonal, symptom and menstrual changes in pre-menopausal women undergoing breast cancer chemotherapy
  • Examining the experiences of women with early menopause/POI due to different causes with an exploration of the diagnostic and symptom experiences as well as health related behaviours and use of therapies, including complementary therapies
  • Investigating health professionals’ attitudes to menopausal hormone therapy and menopause management which demonstrated knowledge gaps, particularly in the use of non-hormonal therapies, and variation in management between different medical specialists
  • Mechanistic studies investigating cardio-metabolic and bone health parameters of women with Turner Syndrome, POI and comparing this to women with PCOS and healthy controls
  • Investigating novel methods of bone density assessment in women with POI

Major collaborations

  • Hudson Institute
  • Monash Health
  • Department of Medicine, Southern Clinical School, Monash University
  • Victorian Cancer Agency

Epidemiology research

Major current project

Data linkage study investigating long term health impacts of early menopause

Key collaboration

Professor Roger Hart at UWA as part of our NHMRC Partnership Project

Health services research

Major current project

Studies directed at optimizing service provision in the Menopause after Cancer clinic and Turner Syndrome are ongoing. We have previously shown that assessment at a dedicated Adult Turner syndrome clinic is associated with increased detection of co-morbidities and that delay in institution of oestrogen therapy has adverse effects on bone mineral density in women with Turner Syndrome

Key collaboration

Menopause Unit, Monash Health

Translation and education

Major current projects

  • Early Menopause: Implementation Research using the Experiences and Perspectives of Women and Health Professionals to Translate Evidence into Practice. A NHMRC Partnership Project to address knowledge gaps regarding early menopause with best practice research focusing on implementation and translation of research outputs to develop a comprehensive range of resources for consumers and health professionals related to early menopause, including:
  • Systematic evaluation of early menopause websites revealed significant deficiencies in quality and content.
  • Studies focusing on health professional menopause education in relation to menopause and cancer, premature menopause and Turner syndrome.
  • Evaluating currently available clinical practice guidelines for management of POI with development of a POI diagnosis and
    POI management algorithm to assist clinicians.
  • Mixed method study identifying bone health knowledge gaps and needs which informed the development of a co-designed fact sheet and infographic for women.

Key collaborations

  • NHMRC Partnership involving RMIT University, Australasian Menopause Society, Endocrine Society of Australia, Healthtalk Australia, and government and non-government organisations including National Breast Cancer Foundation, Healthdirect Australia, Breast Cancer Network Australia, The Women’s, Monash Health, and Women's Health Victoria
  • Jean Hailes Foundation for Women
  • Osteoporosis Australia and Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society

ALGORITHM: Diagnosis/evaluation of premature ovarian insufficiency

(PDF, 306KB)

ALGORITHM: Management of premature ovarian insufficiency

(PDF, 295KB)

FACT SHEET: Early menopause, premature ovarian insufficiency and bone health

(PDF, 142KB)

INFOGRAPHIC: Premature ovarian insufficiency, early menopause and osteoporosis

(PDF, 373KB)