The time has come to change the game. October saw Menopause Awareness Day rise to new heights in the public arena of recognition, but one thing stands out - a lack of evidence-based information for HRT alternatives.
Yes, the noise is getting louder, the voices are making themselves heard, the demand is reaching fever pitch (so to speak), but when the question of 'how?' is raised, the answers funnel themselves into an impossibly narrow channel. There's a disconnect between the cry for help and the provision of meaningful solutions. As one GP we spoke to said, when asked if there is an alternative solution to HRT: "yes, antidepressants."
We can do better.
"There is no global study of this kind."
- Director of Medical Education and Honorary Consultant Gynaecology
The unrepresented 60%
For years, HRT and antidepressants have been the answer to women seeking support for the unwanted and disruptive consequences of menopause. However, for anyone who doesn't want to take HRT, who can't take it, or who wants to explore other options in addition to synthetic hormones, there's a deafening silence, aided and abetted by a lack of GP time.
The reason for this sparse landscape of support is because there's a lack of data - a lack of scientific evidence through which to show the tangible benefits of other options ranging from lifestyle medicine to holistic therapies. From research dating to 1996 it is estimated (using the age of 50 as a proxy for menopause), that about 25 million women go into menopause each year. The State of Menopause Study estimated in 2021 that 73% of women don't treat their symptoms. Yet, menopausal symptoms affect more than 75% of women and over 25% describe severe symptoms (British Menopause Society).
From our own research, we know that more than 60% of women choose not to see a doctor about menopause consequences, even when they find them severely disruptive, because they don’t think they will be able to help. What about them?
"In my clinics we ask about one or two questions about perimenopausal symptoms but do not go into an in-depth analysis." - Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Gathering the data for menopause wellness
This month we are launching The Menopause Million - the largest global research study into menopausal symptoms ever undertaken, collecting the big data needed to improve healthcare outcomes for women experiencing hormonal change.
Our founder, Jennifer Young, is launching it as part of her work with the Global Wellness Institute, where she leads the Hormonal Wellness Initiative alongside other industry leaders. The Hormonal Wellness Initiative's goal is to provide greater understanding of hormones, their impact on our quality of life, and increase the ability of the wellness industry to offer support to individuals through active research leading to hormonal wellness education and protocols.
The Menopause Million is the Hormonal Wellness Initiative's flagship research project, pioneered by Jennifer Young. It follows her own groundbreaking research and more than 13 years of work with women in menopause, particularly in the context of medical menopause brought on by cancer treatment. Her research began with her State of the Art Scoping Review, commissioned from the UK’s Keele University. It provides academic validation and statistical scrutiny of holistic therapies on specific symptoms.
This led to the launch of The Menopause Plus - its natural, phytohormone based products as well as the holistic hormone balancing spa therapies in which we train therapists, focusing on acupressure to address the cause of symptoms.
"As clinicians, this is a very important place to start to understand our patients rather than giving a standard treatment." - Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
The Menopause Million
To take things further however, we need data. Menopause is as individual as the women going through it and we have to start treating it as such. That begins with knowledge. The Menopause Million will provide the big data we need.
It is in the form of a questionnaire that will be completed by one million women from across the globe. This is a project based on collaboration, where personal information will not be taken and big data is freely shared every quarter for the greater good. To achieve our goals, we need to work together. If you want to be a partner, spreading the word and sharing the questionnaire, we want you involved. If you are a candidate able to answer questions about your menopause experience, we would greatly value your time.
Want to make a change? Let's go.
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