Summary of report content
Feedback indicates that women in North Tyneside are dissatisfied with the level of information and support available. Many felt poorly informed about what to expect during the menopause and struggled with symptoms for many years without realising the cause. They found GPs often lacked the expertise needed to make an accurate diagnosis and did not make the connection between individual symptoms and menopause. GPs generally focused on offering HRT without suggesting alternative ways to manage symptoms. People felt they had to rely on their own research to get the full picture of options, particularly when HRT was not medically suitable or not chosen. However, accessing information about menopause was described as a ‘minefield’. The benefits of peer support were highlighted. People found that sharing experiences with others in the same situation made them feel more informed and less isolated. In the absence of any local support groups, many had found Facebook communities very helpful, along with a small number of support groups in the workplace. It was felt that increasing publicity and education about menopause would open up the topic for discussion and develop awareness generally.
Women would like to feel better informed well in advance of their symptoms starting. They want to know how and where to get reliable and comprehensive information and support when they need it. This exploratory research has uncovered gaps in information and support that leave women struggling alone, with significant impact on their health, work, relationships and quality of life. Improving menopause support would enable women to stay healthier for longer thus potentially reducing later demands on the health service.
An online survey was used to explore the experiences and needs of women in the local area. This was shared during March 2021 via local network of contacts and on social media. Responses were received from 65.
- Commission information about menopause and support for the Living Well North Tyneside Platform
- Consider additional training/briefing for GPs on wider support than HRT
- Consider establishing a peer support group locally
- Examine opportunity for training within workplaces