$40 million in funding for menopause services

In an Australian first, women struggling with menopause will get access to a network of dedicated health services, thanks to more than $40 million in funding from the 2022-23 NSW Budget.

Treasurer Matt Kean said around one in five women experience severe or prolonged menopause symptoms, but not enough are able to access targeted health support.

“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,” Mr 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.”

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the NSW Government will also launch a statewide education and awareness campaign focusing on perimenopause and menopause symptoms, education for GPs and employers.

“Women often experience very difficult symptoms of perimenopause and menopause in silence. I want them to know that they no longer need to keep calm and carry on, together we can smash the taboo!” Mrs Taylor said.

“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.”

Menopause is a natural occurrence at the end of a woman’s reproductive years, when hormone production slows and menstruation stops.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said a statewide clinical network will also be established to help address the long-term health conditions women can face. These include bone thinning, weight management issues and an increased risk of heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

“This $40.3 million investment will build on the state’s existing bone health services to give women across NSW who experience severe impacts from menopause access to a broader range of support services,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Menopause can trigger serious health risks for many women and these new hubs and services will provide support and treatment that women will really benefit from during this challenging stage of their lives.”

The investment has been welcomed by the Australasian Menopause Society, a member-based organisation of more than 600 healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals with an interest in menopause, midlife women’s health and healthy ageing.

“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,” said Dr Karen Magraith, President of the Australasian Menopause Society.

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

Dr Magraith welcomed the education campaign to raise awareness of perimenopause and menopause, its impact on women and the supports available to help women manage before, during and after menopause.

“Knowledge of, and education about, menopause is still quite limited given it has traditionally been a taboo topic,” she said.

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

“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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