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The group of women calling out limited menopause knowledge from Australian GPs

by News Desk

Rage, brain fog, overwhelm, fatigue, depression, anxiety, hot flashes, hives and low self esteem— these were only some of the symptoms that Joanna experienced when she slid into perimenopause at around age forty-two. 

“I struggled to work or parent and I spent a lot of time doom spiralling that the best days of my life [were] over,” said Joanna, who saw five GPs over three years– all of whom she says either couldn’t figure out what was wrong or couldn’t support her properly.

“One missed that I was in perimenopause, another completely dismissed it, the other three all had outdated and limited knowledge of perimenopause and hormone therapy, giving me no confidence in them at all.”

As part of a group of women advocating for change, Joanna shared her experience on the group’s Instagram page– @peripausers. 

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A post shared by @peripausers

Rallying for the millions of women in Australia who will experience menopause, the “Peri Pausers” are a group of women who’ve come together for an essential cause: comprehensive menopause training for Australian General Practitioners (GPs).

To do this, they’ve created an online petition, to bring attention to the alarming lack of information and understanding that Australian doctors have regarding menopause’s impact on women’s lives.

They’re calling on the Federal Health Minister to implement a comprehensive peri/menopause education program so that GPs can better support women, including those from diverse backgrounds and with differing accessibility needs. 

The group says that in order for the government to respond to the petition, 10,000 signatures are needed. And for the issue to be debated in parliament, the petition must get to at least 100,000 signatures. As of 30 August, around 9,500 people have signed.

What is perimenopause and menopause?

Perimenopause refers to the time that a person’s body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years. According to the Mayo Clinic, women start perimenopause at different ages, with some noticing changes as early as their mid-30s.

Depression, anxiety and/or brain/fog are often the first indicators of perimenopause around age forty-five. 

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A post shared by @peripausers

For the millions of women in Australia that will be affected by menopause, 80 per cent experience peri/menopause symptoms that can range from mild to extremely severe.

Despite this prevalence, menopause is not among the top 15 conditions most frequently managed by GPs.

Research shows that GPs and specialists in Australia often lack the skills and confidence in managing menopause, leading to recommendations of unproven and ineffective complementary and alternative medicines before considering Menopause Hormonal Therapy (MHT) or effective non-hormonal therapies.

Following this lack of GP knowledge, menopause costs women more than $17 billion per year in lost earnings and superannuation, according to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).

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A post shared by @peripausers

Collective action

One of the founders and creative behind the name– ‘peripausers’– is Maria, a woman whose own journey with perimenopause began at around age forty-three. It was a lengthy process visiting GPs who told her she was ‘too young’ to be experiencing what she was, but eventually Maria found treatment that offered relief for her symptoms. 

“Now almost 49 and just started HRT (hormone replacement therapy), finally I’ve got myself back. It took me 5 years to get here,” she says.

Determined to help find quicker and more effective support for peri/menopause, Maria tells other women they’re not alone. 

“So here we are the @peripausers advocating for change in the education and training of GPs,” she said. 

Thank you so much for those who have signed our petition or shared our profile. The more women we have on board the better chance we have of making a difference.

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A post shared by @peripausers

A link to the Peri-Pauser’s petition can be found here. 

The post The group of women calling out limited menopause knowledge from Australian GPs appeared first on Women’s Agenda.

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