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:
- Menopause and mental health pocket cards (2019). 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 (2019). 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.
- Menopause. RCN guidance for nurses, midwives and health visitors (2017). 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 (2016). 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.