Understanding Health: Raising public awareness of the menopause

Local experts led a discussion on menopause to raise public awareness and change public perception around the subject.

On the 6th of March, expert speakers from University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust and Bournemouth University (BU) delivered their first event in a series of free Understanding Health talks in 2024 with the first focusing on menopause.

According to NHS England, it is estimated that one-third of the entire UK female population is currently peri- or menopausal in the UK.

Presenters Rosie Harper, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Pelvic Health at UHD, and Dr Emma Thurston, Senior Lecturer in Physician Associate Studies at BU and GP with a special interest in women’s sexual and reproductive health, discussed lifestyle advice, tips, information and support to improve the experience of the menopause journey.

Rosie and Emma took questions from an in-house and online audience. One of the questions was around the impact of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction on activity. Rosie spoke about the misconceptions of menopause, for example, that the menopause experience is the same for everyone. She explained how women’s experiences differ and spoke of her work to support women in finding the right level of exercise to support them with reasonable adjustments throughout their menopause transition.

Rosie said, “educating women about the common pelvic floor symptoms that can arise around menopause will prepare and support them through this predictable stage in life.”

Emma was asked why there is still a taboo surrounding menopause, to which she highlighted the positive progress that has been made in recent years supported by the Women’s Health Strategy for England. Additionally, she spoke of the impact of social media on changing public perceptions of menopause with women sharing their individual experiences online.

Emma said, “Breaking down health taboos for women across all life stages is vital to ensure women feel empowered to advocate for themselves, know when to seek medical support, and remove any shame or stigma which historically surrounds “women’s issues”. This includes discussing previously “taboo” topics, such as sexual pleasure.”

Through greater education and awareness such as through these ‘Understanding Health Talks’, Bournemouth University in partnership with University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust hope to share its expertise with a public audience. This event helped improve the public’s understanding of the menopause.

Two further Understanding Health talks have been scheduled for later this year with Understanding Concussion in Sports and Practice taking place on 2 May and Understanding Pathology – Health under a Microscope on 4 June.


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