Hello and welcome to the Early Menopause: Health Practitioners’ Perspectives digital resource. This site has been developed by our research team in collaboration with the health practitioners we interviewed and the project Reference Group.
On this unique site you can read, watch and listen to the experiences and perspectives of 16 health practitioners who provide medical care and psychological support for women diagnosed with spontaneous early menopause, premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), medically-induced early menopause, or menopausal symptoms as a result of cancer or other medical treatments.
The health practitioners we interviewed included breast care nurses, breast surgeons, clinical psychologists, endocrinologists, fertility specialists, general practitioners, obstetrician-gynaecologists, oncologists, and psychiatrists, and based predominantly in Victoria, Australia.
On this site, you will find health practitioners’ perspectives on and experiences of caring for women with early menopause, including the challenges of diagnosis, how they support and treat women in relation to symptoms and long-term health effects, their insights into the impact of early menopause on women’s health and personal lives, and their reflections on how care is currently organised, challenges providing care in rural areas and how care might be improved.
You will also find links to a comprehensive range of resources, including a Management Algorithm for early menopause. We hope you find the perspectives offered by health practitioners, information and resources provided here useful.
Introduction by Jane Fox, Director of Breast Services, Monash Health and Senior Lecturer, Southern Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University.
How to find your way around
You can start by watching a preview of some of the interview video clips below. Or, you can go straight to the ‘Talking Points’ on the left (summaries of the main themes in the interviews, illustrated by interview clips) or explore ‘People’s Profiles’ to learn more about the health practitioners we spoke to.
On our Resources & Information page (and at the end of each Talking Point) you can find information, clinical guidelines regarding early menopause/POI, diagnosis and management algorithms and links to many different services and organisations relevant to health practitioners who care for women diagnosed with EM. You might also like to look at the Early Menopause: Women’s experiences digital resource to hear from women with experiences of EM.
Preview of interview clips
A note about language and links
Early menopause (menopause before age 45) or premature ovarian insufficiency (loss of ovarian function before age 40 years) are complex health conditions with many different causes, both known and unknown. We use the term premature ovarian insufficiency in preference to premature ovarian failure or premature menopause as suggested in recent international guidelines.
For simplicity, across this digital resource we use the term ‘spontaneous early menopause’ to refer to spontaneous premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), including conditions such as Turner Syndrome.
Under the label ‘medically-induced early menopause’ we include early menopause caused by medical treatments (e.g. chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgical removal of the ovaries) which may be used as part of cancer therapy or for non-cancer conditions such as endometriosis. Women undergoing ovarian suppression therapy using gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists such as goserelin, who experience menopausal symptoms are also included in this group.
Although health practitioners are moving towards using the term ‘Menopausal Hormone Therapy’ for oestrogen and progesterone-based medications for menopause, we use the term ‘Hormone Replacement Therapy’ (HRT) on this resource as HRT continues to be more widely used.
Throughout this digital resource, there are hyperlinks to definitions or more information about medical or other technical terms used. Where possible we have linked to Australian sources; where links are to international sources, please be aware that practice and terminology may be different.