Newson Health team to showcase new research and insights at global conference
Eight abstracts being presented at World Menopause Society World Congress on Menopause
Newson Health will be showcasing research at the world’s most prestigious menopause conference this week.
The International Menopause Society’s (IMS) World Congress on Menopause is a celebration of women’s health, as well as highlighting clinical, research and social aspects of the menopause.
The four-day conference, which kicks off in Lisbon, Portugal, on 26 October, will feature seven oral presentations and one poster presentation from Newson Health (see below for a summary of each abstract).
These include looking at unmet need among menopausal women from minority backgrounds, experiences of menopause care after a breast cancer diagnosis, challenges facing perimenopausal staff working in the NHS, and how online training has boosted healthcare professionals’ confidence in diagnosing and treating the menopause.
Our research includes insights from surveys of patients at Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre, the world’s largest menopause clinic, while the impact of the ORCHA-certified balance menopause support app is also the subject of three presentations.
Newson Health founder, GP and Menopause Specialist Dr Louise Newson, said: ‘IMS congress is one of the most important events of the year for healthcare professionals involved in menopause care, and I am delighted Newson Health had so many abstracts accepted for presentation.
‘We are committed to sharing best practice with international colleagues, as well as highlighting barriers to care affecting women during perimenopause and menopause.
‘The whole team and I are excited to be presenting our research and insights, and networking with peers who share our passion for improving access to evidence-based care.’
Women’s experiences seeking help for menopause after breast cancer
Providing menopause care for women with a personal history of breast cancer remains a neglected clinical area due to surrounding controversy regarding the role of reproductive hormones in breast cancer.
We constructed an anonymous online survey for relevant patient groups within Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre to explore the experiences and views of women with a history of breast cancer, especially in accessing advice and treatment for menopausal symptoms.
- 73% of respondents stated that they felt unable to raise the issue of menopause care with their Breast Surgical Team (73%), the Oncological team (70%), as well as their GP (52%).
- Only 19% of respondents had been referred to an NHS Menopause Clinic, and the vast majority (94%) had not received any written information about the menopause.
- However, almost half (47%) could not recall being told they could induce menopause or significantly worsen menopausal symptoms.
- Overall, 80% of respondents had felt relatively or completely uninvolved in medical decisions about their menopause-related care
This survey identifies key gaps in the educational and clinical provision for women with a personal history of breast cancer and who are seeking help for menopausal symptoms.
Seeking help for menopausal health after breast cancer will be presented by Dr Sarah Ball during the Menopause after Cancer session, 27 October 14.45-16.15
Remote learning revolution: online menopause training improves confidence and awareness
Helping healthcare professionals to improve menopause care is a formidable challenge.
In response to this, Newson Health devised a CPD-accredited online training course called Confidence in the Menopause, centred around bespoke training videos but also containing articles, downloadable prescribing guides and a peer support portal.
The course has been accessed more than 28,000 times since its launch in 2019.
In 2021, an online survey was devised to gauge the impact of the course. A total of 278 users completed the survey, including GPs or GP Registrars, Primary Care Nurses and Pharmacists.
Findings, which will be presented in a poster presentation at the IMS, conference include:
- 78% of those sampled said the course had improved their knowledge about the benefits of HRT
- 73% stated that the course had changed the way they discuss treatment options with patients
- Only 3% stated that the course had no impact on their practice
- Encouragingly, 97% said they would recommend the course to a clinical colleague.
On a Likert scale from 1-10, confidence in prescribing improved from a median of 5.2 before the course, to a median of 8.6 after completion of the course.
Remote learning revolution: online training of GPs and nurses increases confidence and awareness features in the poster session on 27 October from 18.50-20.15
Tool helps to take menopause treatment decisions digital
Newson Health’s Aini Kamal will introduce a patient centred, interactive digital decision tool for prescribing treatments for the perimenopause and menopause that enhances shared decision making between patient and clinician.
Knowing what type of HRT and/or local hormone treatments are suitable can feel complicated to the less experienced healthcare practitioner and treatment options need to be tailored to the individual patient.
Based on national menopause guidelines and regulatory standards, the tool aids this decision-making process in a visually clear and succinct way for the user.
Some 96% of 280 primary care healthcare professionals surveyed about the tool said they would use it with their patients, while 95% would share it with colleagues.
The authors have demonstrated that there is an appetite from frontline workers in menopause care for digital aids that are easy to use – in person and remotely – and help focus decision-making around treatment choices in the limited time available during consultations.
A patient-centred, interactive digital decision tool to individualise menopause care will be presented in the Diagnosis of Menopause session on 28 October at 09:50-11:20
Balance app supports users’ mental health and boosts confidence to seek treatment
The team from balance menopause support app will present findings on the impact of using the app on women’s symptoms, wellbeing and confidence to seek help. Results from 1,062 survey participants showed significant improvements across a range of measures including access to treatment, symptom awareness and empowerment.
Of those surveyed, 73% said they had been able to access the menopause treatment they needed, and after ten months of use there was a marked reduction (of 44%) in menopause related healthcare appointments.
Over a ten-month period, the proportion of users able to recognise symptoms of their menopause increased from 60% to 87% and the number of women reporting an improvement in their mental health symptoms (such as low mood and anxiety) doubled from 33% to 66%.
Another striking finding from the survey relates to how empowered women feel once they have used the app for several months – users’ confidence to seek help increased from 47% to 86% after ten months of use.
Most women who completed the survey were in work and the majority said they had become advocates for workplace change and had become more confident talking about the menopause in their workplaces.
These findings demonstrate the importance of digital health solutions to empower women to take control of their own menopause journey leading to improvements in their health, wellbeing and work lives.
Future in our hands: free balance™ app empowers women to become their own advocates will be presented in the Diagnosis of menopause session on 28 October at 09:50-11:20
Menopause experience improved with use of app survey finds
This presentation will highlight the positive impact of using the balance menopause support app for women’s understanding of their changing bodies and for gaining control over their symptoms and improving quality of life.
More than 8,000 app users reviewed a range of medical and alternative treatments and their effects on symptoms and quality of life.
Within the app users can rate their HRT medication against alternatives such as antidepressants, CBT, acupuncture or black cohosh for example. App data pulled from these treatment reviews revealed that combined HRT (including estrogen and progesterone hormones) was the most effective treatment for symptom relief and led to the most improvements in quality of life.
The balance app is designed to support women before, during and after their menopause with evidence-based information and support at the touch of a button. With over 200 articles, the balance app is thought to be the largest content repository for information on the perimenopause and menopause. It is used by over 120,000 women from 150 different countries to track symptoms and empower users to seek effective treatments through better conversations with their healthcare practitioners.
All in the balance™: using a digital app to track menopause symptoms, educate and empower women to take charge will be presented at the Diagnosis of menopause session on 28 October 09:50-11:20
Underserved and in pain: Characteristics of women on the waiting list for UK’s largest menopause clinic
In this survey study, we wanted to understand the characteristics of women waiting to attend Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre, in order to prioritise and better serve their needs.
Two cross-sectional surveys were carried out sampling the views of women who had self-referred to the clinic.
There were 14,478 completed surveys during the study period. Self-referrals were received from 104 out of all of UK’s 108 counties. The majority were aged between 50-60 years, and most women (79%) were happy to have a remote consultation. A more in-depth follow-up survey was conducted with a smaller sample of 2,533 women.
- Only a minority of women (16%) stated that they had been refused HRT by their GP
- Most women sought help with either starting HRT, discussing or changing their treatment regimen or discussing or starting testosterone treatment.
- A significant portion were already taking HRT (38%), and almost a third of women (32%) had been offered antidepressants to deal with symptoms of the menopause.
- Regarding symptoms, of those waiting for a clinic appointment and not currently receiving HRT, 84% reported that they had been in moderate to severe pain in the last four weeks. This compared to only 25% in women who have attended the clinic for 6-12 months.
These data suggest many women receive suboptimal care for their menopausal symptoms, and this is impacting on their quality of life and their ability to work.
Underserved and in pain: Characteristics of women on the waiting list for UK’s largest menopause clinic will be presented at the COVID/work-related problems session on 28 October 11.50-12.50
Stark differences in access to menopause care for women from minority backgrounds, analysis suggests
The aim of this analysis was to examine if significant differences in UK menopause care existed between women from white and non-white/ethnic minority backgrounds.
Newson Health, and writer and menopause activist Kate Muir, analysed the results of a large-scale panel survey carried out in 2022 on behalf of the Fawcett Society.
The online survey was open to women aged 45-55 with current menopausal symptoms and had 4,014 respondents. Data was weighted to be representative of UK women aged 45-55 by age and region. Women from Black British and Asian backgrounds made up 8% of the respondents, largely consistent of the ethnic background of women in this age group in the UK.
Strikingly, we found a several significant differences between the menopause care for white women and women from non-white/ethnic minority backgrounds.
Whilst there were no ethnic differences in terms of symptoms, White British women were twice as likely to be receiving HRT for their symptoms compared to Black British and British Asian women (15% for white women compared to 8% for women with a non-white/ethnic minority background).
Additionally, we found that non-white women were 38% more likely to be hesitant about taking HRT due to perceived risks, and non-white women were 50% more likely to indicate that they had experienced barriers to menopause care.
These results indicate significant gaps in care based on ethnic background, and suggest that further work is required, both in terms of targeted education and improving equal access, to enable women of all backgrounds to have access to the menopause care they need.
Ethnic disparities in UK menopause care: large-scale survey highlights barriers to change will be presented in the Workplace and attitudes session on 28 October, 16:45-17:45
Healthcare staff struggling to cope with menopause symptoms in the workplace, survey suggests
With 1.5 million people, the National Health Service (NHS) is one of the top five largest workforces globally. Over 75% of the NHS workforce are female, the majority between the ages of 40-60 years. Menopausal symptoms are common, persistent, and often devastating, especially for people who work in high-pressured, demanding work environments.
An online survey to gauge women’s experiences was completed by 1,264 women, 88% of whom stated they worked within the NHS, and 12% worked outside of the health service.
- Women with predominantly cognitive/mood-related symptoms were 63% more likely to have a significant negative impact on their working lives, compared to women whose symptoms were exclusively physical
- Only 18% of NHS staff had been able to make changes to current work arrangements because of their symptoms, compared to 53% in the private sector
- 45% of the women surveyed had not been able to reduce their working hours, either due to employer inflexibility or financial constraints. Some 48% had considered quitting their job as a result.
- 34% felt unable to raise these issues with their managers, and 80% said they had not received any formal education about the menopause.
- Conversely, of those who had started HRT, 74% felt it had improved their ability to carry on working.
Acknowledging its limitations (small sample size, bias due to self-selection), this study reveals the stark impact of unaddressed menopausal symptoms within the health sector at a time when retention of staff is crucial.
Further work might gainfully look at the secondary effects of staff menopausal symptoms on clinical decision-making and patient care.
Menopause in the United Kingdom National Health Service: An online workforce survey will be presented in the Workplace and Attitudes session on 28 October at 16:45-17:45