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BMS Conference Poster: Not just hot flushes

BMS Conference Poster: Not just hot flushes

The British Menopause Society’s annual conference was held in Warwickshire this month and a team from NHMS presented findings from a survey commissioned by The Fawcett Society that showed the perimenopause and menopause is so much more than hot flushes alone.

Dr Louise Newson joined forces with Dr Daniel Reisel, Andrew Bazeley, Kate Muir and Dr Rebecca Lewis to showcase three posters highlighting a range of different findings from surveys carried out into the perimenopause and menopause during this last year, commissioned by The Fawcett Society.

Effective menopause care depends on women and health professionals being able to recognise whether the symptoms a woman experiences are related to the menopause or not. The objective of this study was to explore what the most common menopause symptoms are in a representative sample of women in the UK.

Results from a large-scale panel survey were analysed of women aged 45-55 with current menopausal symptoms. The survey was conducted online and included 4,014 female respondents. Data was weighted to be representative of UK women by age and region.

Results showed the most common symptom (84%) reported was exhaustion and difficulty sleeping, followed by poor memory and concentration and difficulty focusing on a task (colloquially referred to as ‘brain fog’) (73%), and only then hot flushes or night sweats (70%). Mood-related changes (69%), joint pain or stiffness (69%), and low libido (54%) were subsequently the most common symptoms.

Almost half of the women surveyed (44%) reported that they had experienced a significant negative impact on their work due to the menopause, including reduced motivation and confidence, as well as the whole spectrum of physical symptoms of the menopause and perimenopause. Almost half of the women surveyed (44%) had experienced three or more symptoms related to the menopause. Genitourinary symptoms, often a cause for tertiary referral, were experienced by 39% of the participants.

Researchers concluded:

“To improve care and individualise treatment, there is an urgent need to reconfigure how the menopause is perceived, in a way that more accurately reflects the symptoms that women experience. Further work could sample the views of prescribing clinicians and specialists involved in menopause care.”

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