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UK’s first menopause education programme being launched by UCL

Programme has been inspired by courses for mothers-to-be before birth.

Plans inspired by courses for mothers-to-be before birth are being launched as part of the UK’s first menopause education programme.

Those behind the National Menopause Education and Support Programme said they hope it will give women reaching menopausal age a better understanding of changes happening in their bodies, as well as peer support from others going through a similar experience.

Across a number of weeks, those taking part will be given independent, up-to-date and evidence-based menopause education, including symptoms and treatments, in a course delivered by trained healthcare professionals.

The course, designed by experts at University College London (UCL) and leading women’s health charities, has been inspired by those offered by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) during pregnancy.

Work on developing the programme will begin at UCL in September and those behind it hope it is something which companies can offer to employees.

Research published earlier this year by Professor Joyce Harper, who is leading the programme, has suggested that of the 829 postmenopausal women questioned, 90% were not taught about the menopause at school and 60% only started looking for information about it when they began to have symptoms.

Prof Harper, a professor in the Institute for Women’s Health at UCL, said they want to help women access the information they need “to manage the changes they experience in this part of their life, in the best way possible”.

She said: “Research has shown that women are currently poorly educated about the menopause and often go into it not understanding what to expect.

“Some menopausal symptoms can cause psychological issues and women may mistake their symptoms for mental health issues or other concerning causes, and this can have a negative effect on their wellbeing.”

Prof Harper said they want to “keep the price of the programme low to make it accessible to everyone” and plan to work with firms so they can make it available to employees.

The programme is in partnership with the charities Wellbeing of Women and Sophia Forum, and is supported by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and British Menopause Society.

Janet Lindsay, chief executive of Wellbeing of Women, said: “Every woman deserves access to high-quality information and menopause support, yet as research from Professor Harper shows, too many women haven’t been given the knowledge they desperately need and deserve.

“We hope this work will empower a generation of women to understand the changes to their bodies during menopause and access help to manage their symptoms.”

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