$40 million announced to support women through menopause in NSW

$40 million announced to support women through menopause in NSW

Bronnie Taylor

In an Australian first, women in NSW will be able to access a network of dedicated health services to help them deal with menopause symptoms.

The NSW government has promised more than $40 million in funding in its 2022-23 budget to enable women to receive targeted support when they need it and shift the stigma around menopause.

The government will establish 4 new hubs and 16 holistic menopausal services across the state.

Currently, one in five women experience severe or prolonged menopause symptoms, but not enough are able to access targeted health support.

Common symptoms women experience during menopause include hot flushes, sleep problems, fatigue, night sweats, hair thinning, muscle and joint aches, and emotional changes. Most women become menopausal between the ages of 45 and 60 years, marking the end of the reproductive life stage.

“Women often experience very difficult symptoms of perimenopause and menopause in silence,” NSW Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor said.

“I want them to know that they no longer need to keep calm and carry on, together we can smash the taboo!”

“The four new hubs and 16 services across NSW will support around 5,500 women each year, including virtual consultations for women who cannot attend a service in person.

“These services will provide expert advice for women experiencing severe menopausal symptoms and address the associated health risks such as fractures, risk of stroke and heart disease.”

The NSW government will dedicate $300,000 for a a state-wide education and awareness campaign on perimenopause and menopause symptoms, education for GPs and employers.

The government will also establish a clinical network to help address long-term health conditions women can face during menopause. These include bone thinning, weight management issues and an increased risk of heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said supporting women through menopause was important for their health, but would also help boost their economic security.

“This can have profound effects on not only a woman’s health, but also her financial security, as she is forced to spend or forgo income to look after herself,” Kean said.

“That’s why we’re establishing 16 holistic menopause services across NSW, helping to break down social stigmas around discussing and seeking treatment for menopause.”

The $40 million investment from the NSW government has been welcomed by the Australasian Menopause Society, a member-based organisation of more than 600 healthcare professionals.

President of the Australasian Menopause Society, Dr Karen Magraith said at least 75 per cent of women will experience symptoms of menopause and some of these women experience severe symptoms which really affect their ability to work and function.

“One of the consequences of the drop in estrogen levels which comes with menopause is an increased risk of osteoporosis – it’s often not realised at the time of menopause and may not be diagnosed until a woman has a fracture,” Dr Karen Magraith said in a statement.

“If this can be prevented via the creation of these new services, then that’s the goal.”

Dr Magraith said knowledge around menopause has been limited for generations because it has been a taboo topic.

“In previous generations, women were expected to deal with it quietly but today’s women expect information and treatment options,” she said.

“Many of them are busy working and raising adolescent kids and caring for ageing parents and are expected to function at a very high level, despite debilitating symptoms. They also need preventative and treatment options for the long-term effects which include not only osteoporosis but also heart disease.”

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