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Women's health: Menopause

The menopause happens to all women, however the degree of impact on a woman’s quality of life and the symptoms experienced are very individual. It is important that all health care professionals understand the changes that women face at the time of their menopause and the issues related to improving health after menopause.

All nurses should be able to demonstrate some understanding of the impact of the menopause and provide support and advice to women and men. Those working specifically in women’s health need to understand the safety and efficacy of modern therapy options and be aware of the myriad of complementary therapies. They also need to balance these options with the fact that for many women the menopause is an event that needs no intervention, and all that’s required is general health promotion advice.

NICE (2015) defines menopause as:

"Menopause is when a woman stops having periods as she reaches the end of her natural reproductive life. This is not usually abrupt, but a gradual process during which women experience peri-menopause before reaching post-menopause (NICE, 2015)

We have published the following guidance:

  • RCN Position Statement: Menopause and you at work (2023). The RCN believes that everyone has a right to access support at work, around the menopause, to enable them to continue in employment and ensure they maintain a healthy life, within any healthcare setting. This position statement is for all nurses, midwives, nursing associates and nursing support worker working in any health and social care setting in any of the four countries in relation to menopause at work. See. RCN Position Statement: Menopause and you at work 
  • Menopause and mental health pocket cards (2022). These cards are aimed at those involved in the health care of women as well as themselves. The guide contains information on the signs and symptoms of the menopause as well details on how it could have wider impacts on health and wellbeing, including where women may have an existing mental health issue when they enter the menopause. The pocket guide also aims to bust myths around the menopause and the treatments that are linked to it. Alongside this it has information on the impact the menopause can have on mental health. With a number of studies showing that the menopause can significantly impact mood and mental health, including stress levels and depression the booklet encourages women to speak up and seek the right help and support. See: Menopause and mental health pocket cards 
  • Nurse specialist in menopause (2022). The menopause happens to all women, however the degree of its impact on a woman’s quality of life and the symptoms experienced are very individual. The role of a specialist in menopause was included in the 2015 NICE guidelines on managing menopause, however the detail of how this role might be implemented in practice was less clear and subsequently the British Menopause Society (BMS) produced a guide for all health care professionals. This updated booklet builds on the BMS agreed standards, focusing on the options for nurses who may choose a career pathway towards becoming a specialist practitioner in menopause. See: Nurse specialist in menopause.
  • Menopause. RCN guidance for nurses, midwives and health visitors (2020). This publication aims to help all health care professionals gain awareness of what happens to the body during menopause and in the post-menopausal stage, and examines the impact of these changes on women, outlining the options for health after menopause. See: Menopause: RCN guidance for nurses and midwives.
  • The menopause and work: guidance for RCN representatives (2020). This publication provides guidance to RCN Reps when working with colleagues going through the menopause. The document discusses symptoms, workplace policies, and recommendations for changes to both work patterns and the work environment. See: The menopause and work: guidance for RCN representatives.

RCN Womens Health Forum members Debby Holloway FRCN and Katharine Gale, Chair of the Womens Health ForFree resource for training available at m facilitated a discussion at RCN Congress 2022 on Menopause in the workplace. Their PowerPoint presentations can be found below:

A free resource for training is also available, see: Menopause awareness elearning session


European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. Guideline on the management of premature ovarian insufficiency. This guideline offers best practice advice on the care of women with premature ovarian insufficiency, both primary and secondary. 

NICE quality standards (2017). Menopause. This quality standard covers diagnosing and managing menopause in women, including women who have premature ovarian insufficiency. 

NICE (2015) Menopause: diagnosis and management. This guideline covers the diagnosis and management of menopause, including in women who have premature ovarian insufficiency. It also aims to improve the consistency of support and information provided to women in menopause.

Further resources

APPG Menopause. Manifesto for Menopause. Manifesto launched on World Menopause Day 2023, calling for free NHS menopause checks for women at 40.

British Menopause Society (2024). Management of unscheduled bleeding on hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

British Menopause Society. The British Menopause Society provides education, information and guidance to healthcare professionals specialising in all aspects of post reproductive health. 

British Menopause Society. BMS TV. This page includes videos with healthcare professionals talking about different aspects of the menopause.

British Standards Institution (BSI) (2023). Menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace. Guide Menstrual and menopausal health in the workplace. 

Choudini, J. (2023). Pelvis Floor Support - The PF Platform

Daisy Network. The Daisy Network is dedicated to providing information and support to women diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), also known as Premature Menopause.

Guidelines for nurses. Women's health. Guideline summaries and featured articles on women's health. 

Menopause Matters. This website provides up-to-date, accurate information about the menopause, menopausal symptoms and treatment options.

NHS England (2022). Supporting our NHS people through menopause: guidance for line managers and colleagues NHS England

NHS England. Tackling the inequalities in menopause care and support.

NHS England. Supporting our NHS people through menopause: guidance for line managers and colleagues.

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. Menopause and women’s health in later life. An information hub looking at women’s health around the menopause and beyond.

Self-care Forum (2022). Menopause Fact Sheet

Wales TUC Learning Services (2017). The menopause in the workplace. A toolkit for trade unionists. This toolkit provides information to help reps in recognising and addressing the workplace issues that can worsen women’s symptoms.
Women's Health Concern. Women’s Health Concern provides an independent service to advise, reassure and educate women of all ages about their gynaecological and sexual health, wellbeing and lifestyle concerns.

Journal articles

Bailey, R. (2024)  Managing the menopause and work: support for nurses, Nursing in Practice, 22 February.

Banks, S. (2019) Menopause and the NHS: caring for and retaining the older workforce British Journal of Nursing, 28(16), pp. 1086-1090.

Costeria, R et al (2023) Estrogen and COVID-19 symptoms: associations in women from the COVID Symptom Study.

Devlin R (2019) How can we support patients through the menopause if the NHS can’t support staff?, Nursing Standard website, 3 May.

Holloway D (2022) The menopause: symptoms, treatments and implications for women’s health and well-being. Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2022.e1759.

Holloway, D (2015) Managing the menopause: symptoms, consequences and treatmentPrimary Health Care, 26: 7, pp. 40-49.

Noble N (2021) Helping and supporting staff to manage menopause symptoms at work. Nursing Times; 117: 6, pp. 39-41.

Nursing Standard Editorial (2022) Menopause leave: NHS can be ‘trailblazer, Nursing Standard, 37 (9).

Ryman, J. Holloway, D. & Bowen, J. (2022) Looking after our menopausal workforce: A model for NHS staff, British Menopause Journal, (open access).

Vanderzalm, J et al (2023) Women’s health nurse experience of menopause – lessons for leaders, Nursing Management, 1 June pp.34-40.

You may also be interested in...

British Menopause Society. Menopause education for nurses

Cross Government Menopause publications

The Cross Government Menopause group has published the following publications on the menopause:

'Find a Menopause Specialist' service

To mark World Menopause Day, the British Menopause Society launched a UK-wide register of BMS recognised menopause specialists, covering both NHS and private clinics and services. 

The register can be accessed via an online search tool on the BMS website and the interactive map makes it easy to search by geographic location. It contains contact details of each of the recognised specialists across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

See: ‘Find a Menopause Specialist’ service.

Joint framework statement regarding the restoration of menopause services

The BMS, RCOG, RCGP, RCN and FSRH have updated their joint framework statement regarding the restoration of menopause services in response to COVID-19 (April 2021).

Menopause HRT PPC

The new HRT PPC new (Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC) to reduce the cost of certain hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions) Toolkit has been published, see: HRT PPC communications toolkit 

For clinicians/prescribers

For patients