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La Trobe’s Academic and Research Collaborative in Health’s Executive Director Professor Meg Morris said it was vital for women to discuss menopause as part of a healthy ageing process.

“Being open about menopause reduces the stigma about it and makes it part of everyday life, which it is for millions of women every day,” Professor Morris said.

“The study shows that women can be empowered to navigate this life stage if they have the acknowledgement and support of health professionals, researchers, their workplaces, and society as a whole.

“Menopause is not a medical condition or a decline in a woman’s health, but is often seen as such by society, and this is the type of thinking we need to challenge.

Study lead author Dr Lydia Brown from the Healthscope ARCH, and The University of Melbourne said the research team showed that women needed accurate, consistent, and impartial information to make informed decisions that are right for them over the menopause transition.

“This may include taking hormone therapy and psychological therapies to reduce the symptoms,” Dr Brown said.

“In Australia we are becoming more open to discussing menopause in our workplaces, in the media, and in politics.

Dr Lydia Brown said while some women had negative experiences of menopause and benefitted from hormone therapies, that was not the whole picture.

“The reality is much more complex and varied, with some women reporting neutral experiences and others highlighting good aspects, such as freedom from menstruation and menstrual pain,” Dr Brown said.

“Menopause is having a cultural moment, and this is an opportunity for it to be recognised as a natural part of healthy ageing for women which, with the right preparation and support, is not something to fear.”

Greater awareness, better understanding of mechanisms, new treatments, and additional support for people who experience early menopause, menopause after cancer treatment or who are at a higher risk of depression over the menopause transition, is urgently needed.

Read the article here.