Shaping the future of menopause research
Australian women are invited to participate in a new global survey which will shape the future of menopause research. The international survey will be launched on World Menopause Day (18 October 2023).
The international survey will be launched on World Menopause Day (18 October 2023). The Menopause Priority Setting Partnership (MAPS) is the international initiative behind the survey, which aims to address the discrepancy between what researchers choose to study and what patients and healthcare providers want to know.
More than 30% of Australian women are peri- or post-menopausal, and although more than 70% of midlife women have menopause symptoms, there are significant evidence gaps.
There are also substantial gaps in the understanding of the causes, symptoms and treatment options for the 10% of women who experience menopause early.
The team wants to hear from those with lived experience of menopause and their healthcare providers, to ensure that future research directly answers their critical questions.
This will make menopause research more patient-focused and lead to better health outcomes in the future.
MAPS is led by Professor Martha Hickey from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne and Clinical Director of the Gynaecology Research Centre at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.
“Although menopause affects all those born female, we do not know what questions those who experienced it would like research to answer. Similarly, we do not know the critical questions for healthcare providers offering treatment to these people,” Professor Hickey said.
“Clinical research has mainly focused on new treatments for hot flushes/night sweats. However, those with lived experience may wish to prioritise other research questions. We need to know these priority questions so our research can better focus on the needs of those experiencing menopause and their healthcare providers.”
Many women report feeling unprepared for menopause and dissatisfied with the information and treatments available.
This is particularly true for diverse populations where even less is known about symptoms and priority questions. This includes LGBTIQA+ individuals.
“For transgender and gender diverse men assigned female at birth, very little is known about the long term health outcomes of hormone or surgical menopause at a young age, or how hormone therapy should evolve as a person reaches the average at menopause,” Professor Hickey said.
“All these uncertainties impact quality of care for those experiencing menopause and limits provision of evidence-based care.
“MAPS brings together people affected by menopause and clinicians on an equal footing to identify key evidence gaps important to both groups. Identifying these gaps will set a new, patient-focused research agenda, translating into better clinical care and outcomes in Australia and globally.”
Professor Hickey plans to present the MAPS findings in 2024 at the World Menopause Conference in Melbourne.
Australians who are experiencing or have experienced menopause are invited to have their say here
The survey opens on 18 October 2023, World Menopause Day, and will be live for six weeks.