I would like to see the implementation of a national awareness program around the menopause and the peri menopause so that women can understand better the implication of the symptoms on their health and well-being. Coupled with some form professional development training for GPS so they can assist women better in this area. My experience showed me that GP knowledge in this area is not at a level which ensures that NZ women receive the best care they can.


Why the contribution is important

I suffered for years with the symptoms of perimenapause and despite numerous trips  to my GP, I got little assistance and actually at one point nearly ended my own life because of it. If it wasn't for my own research after hitting rock bottom I might not be here today. 

by AShep on December 14, 2022 at 04:51PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.9
Based on: 88 votes


  • Posted by Torrieca December 16, 2022 at 11:11

    Absolutely agree. In my profession of Human Resources I see a large number of women who have no knowledge of menopause or what that may mean for them. Many at extreme points of desperation as they believe they are going crazy. There is a lack of information available, and knowledge in our primary health care.
  • Posted by Shirley64 February 10, 2023 at 09:19

    Totally agree. I am a mammographer with Breastscreen Aotearoa. It never amazes me the topics we cover with women in 10 minutes and most of the time ladies are discussing menopause symptoms but haven't yet put the two together. I constantly reassure ladies they are not going crazy and to consider that they might be menopausal.
  • Posted by lindadear February 13, 2023 at 16:30

    This is hugely needed. Perimenopause and menopause have been stuck in a blind-spot within the medical world for too long. Women are struggling with symptoms and not getting the right information or support. The fear around HRT over the last two decades, has meant doctors were not trained in how to prescribe this medication that can literally be life-saving. A public health campaign along with better training for doctors, menopause policies in work-places and school-based education about this life phase for our children/adolescents; will all help ensure that menopause comes out of the darkness and women can live longer, happier lives.
  • Posted by Shiftingpeaks March 05, 2023 at 06:31

    I agree. Awareness, Education and support of women around menopause is absolutely vital.
    Menopause is like being ‘put out to pasture’ yet still having to function and work and support or raise families and participate in a world that for the most part is ignorant, unforgiving, uneducated and unsupportive.
    This group of women is completely disenfranchised and Change is long overdue.
  • Posted by scjtse March 05, 2023 at 06:45

    I can not stress how the lack of information is impacting so many women.

    There needs to be more awareness not just for women but their friends, families, and work colleagues
  • Posted by arohananda March 05, 2023 at 07:36

    This is very timely and will help many woman who are still trying to navigate the world of menopause by themselves.
    I had no clue about my symptoms and what was happening relative to hormones. In the end I decided to have a hysterectomy thinking my body was unwell. Now I know that I could have been counselled about my changing body and emotions and been told about HRT. Now through many years of self responsible research and a great menopause specialist I am a knowledgeable but many GPs and other health professionals need to be "schooled again" relative to HRT and ALL the symptoms of Menopause.
  • Posted by dejaan March 05, 2023 at 07:37

    I agree. This really is needed. The changes happening to womens bodys during the perimenopsuse and menopause have a huge impact on those going through it and those around them. Health, mental healtth and eelationships are severely impacted. When you dont know what is happening and those around you dont know what is happening, it ruins lives.
  • Posted by Eve2807 March 05, 2023 at 07:39

    Totally agree! I belong to a ln NZ Menopause Support Group on Facebook, and you would not believe how many women are suffering through perimenopause and menopause, struggling with their GPs to get a diagnosis (that is not depression!!) and help, or even knowledge and understanding in the subject. I'm only early stages but even finding out where to get help is not that easy.
    This needs to be a subject that is talked about, so knowledge is shared, a subject that GP 's are trained better in, so that all women are armed with what they need to navigate this period of their lives, and workplaces have knowledge so they can build something into their policies to cater for us, or at least have the ability to be flexible to support us.
  • Posted by traceya March 05, 2023 at 07:43

    I totally agree with the comments so far and this original post. I am just starting my journey into understanding menopause and its effects on my body and mind. It is definitely a topic that needs to be brought out into the light so women can be aware and educated about it correctly.
  • Posted by Clarebear69 March 05, 2023 at 07:57

    Yep! We’re the first generation able to destigmatise a natural part of life so ourselves our partners, families & future generations of females have a better awareness of what peri & menopause actually involve. My GP told me HRT came with side effects so “you’re better off finding something herbal from the chemist” which are extremely expensive. I’ve been experiencing incontinence & was told to “do Kegel exercises” but who the hell knows how to do them properly! Another huge cost is incontinence pads… that don’t always give you total confidence & are awkward to carry around everywhere. Lack of motivation & bad sleep are huge as well. There has to be conversations about all this & more support easily available that doesn’t cost!
  • Posted by TSebire March 05, 2023 at 07:58

    I'm a nurse, and I still had no idea about how menopause affects the body and mind.. the total lack of information is mind-boggling.. the impact menopause had on my life was huge, but I was unaware that my unusual symptoms were related to menopause. You can't google/research what you don't know.. it was my friend who prompted me to investigate HRT. I really still thought of HRT as that scary drug that is 'bad' for you, and you should only go it if you get really bad 'hot flashes'. The lack of information and dialogue around menopause is shocking.. the positive impact it can have on women's lives is immense, and we need action now to create awareness.
  • Posted by sherrynarthur March 05, 2023 at 08:16

    There also needs to be education about the role of testosterone in female bodies, and it needs to be prescribable and funded through Pharmac.
  • Posted by Angwally March 05, 2023 at 08:25

    There needs to be so much education put in place for women in NZ about menopause. If I hadn’t done my own research and viewed and listened to podcasts and videos from doctors in the UK I would not have understood the immense benefits that HRT can have on your body. I am sure I would have been out of work - severely depressed from lack of sleep and suffering all the horrendous symptoms of menopause without this knowledge. I have had to find a doctor that understands menopause as my own did not have the knowledge. This has to change.
  • Posted by TraceyHanna March 05, 2023 at 08:39

    This comment has been removed by a moderator.

  • Posted by Jritchie March 05, 2023 at 08:41

    I am currently passing through menopause- hopefully coming out the other end. I found the past 6years to be quite debilitating with no assistance or knowledge other than what I could find on google search. My GP (female) and Breast consultant (private mammograms, also female) were not helpful with giving advice on solutions or understanding how long it would last. My work suffered as I dealt with the symptoms which included feeling like I was living in a fog, no short term memory and anxiety which I have not had before. My marriage has also suffered as I try to deal with something that everyone believes doesn't exist.
  • Posted by LittleWicca March 05, 2023 at 08:45

    I tautoko this!
    We need our healthcare teams at all levels to understand what is happening to our bodies and support us effectively.
  • Posted by Flower1970 March 05, 2023 at 08:57

    Tautoko! I totally agree. Menopause needs to be brought out into the light. Women should no longer be suffering alone anymore.
    Alot more discussion and education needs to be had so women, families, doctors and employers are aware of real effects menopause has on a female body and mind.
  • Posted by abradley6 March 05, 2023 at 09:27

    Totally agree. So much unnecessary suffering simply because education isn't available (you don't know what you don't know); or because treatments aren't affordable.
  • Posted by usbroughtons March 05, 2023 at 10:12

    I completely support this recommendation. My experience has been ten years of repeated visits to GPs complaining of symptoms that were typical of menopause, and the GPs never raised this as a possible cause, despite the fact that I was in a typical perimenopause / menopause age group. It wasn't until I began educating myself that I began to understand what was happening, and even then I found some GPs not supportive. I believe I spent 10 years being failed by the health system and suffering unnecessarily, due to a lack of knowledge of something that affects 50% of the population.
  • Posted by Vharding March 05, 2023 at 10:50

    It really isn’t good enough that the many possible symptoms this time of life can present are often swept under the carpet as “normal” and so don’t need intervention. Quality of life and vitality are not even considered as important. Instead symptoms can be viewed in isolation with antidepressants and anxiety medications being prescribed which I find particularly negligent. My first night on bio identical progesterone (privately funded by a hormone specialist and expensive at the time) relieved all of my symptoms! One full might sleep. However, it shouldn’t be expensive, it should be available to all with an understanding that frequent testing is needed with hormones adjusted as needed.
  • Posted by MV March 05, 2023 at 10:57

    GPs are not trained to deal with menopause. If they can't get it sorted why can't we see a endocronoligist?
  • Posted by JFowler March 05, 2023 at 11:09

    Totally agree that a national campaign educating the public about menopause and peri-menopause, would be beneficial. Highlight the facts and symptoms and health impacts. Highlight how simple lifestyle changes can help eliviate symptoms e.g. nutrition, movement and strength training, hydration, 7-9 hours of sleep per night, mindfulness practise, tracking your cycle/symptoms to bring awareness to your symptoms.

    Educate the public on the benefits of HRT and discredit the false belief that HRT causes breast cancer.

    Also, encourage GP's to undergo further training on identifying, diagnosing and supporting menopausal patients. Or at least refer them to specialist doctors or clinics.

    Educte DR's and the public that Peri-menopause symptoms can begin in your 30's and 40's.
  • Posted by Chadbourne March 05, 2023 at 11:52

    I completely agree :
    Educate the public on the benefits of HRT and discredit the false belief that HRT causes breast cancer.

    Also, encourage GP's to undergo further training on identifying, diagnosing and supporting menopausal patients. Or at least refer them to specialist doctors or clinics.

    Educate DR's and the public that Peri-menopause symptoms can begin in your 30's and 40's.
  • Posted by LeeIam63 March 05, 2023 at 13:53

    Agree totally with the previous comments. Improved recognition and treatment of menopause symptoms by GP's would have huge economic benefits as well. From multiple appointments with already overworked GP's and specialists, unnecessary tests trying to find the cause of various symptoms right through to keeping women who have enormous skills and experience in the workforce. So many leave careers before retirement age because they feel they can no longer perform.
  • Posted by DByrne March 05, 2023 at 15:08

    This is a hugely important topic that needs a significant education programme both for GPs and for the general public to help increase awareness and normalise conversations about the symptoms and treatments for perimenopause and post menopause.
  • Posted by Georgie23 March 05, 2023 at 18:06

    Women health hasn't been a priority that it needs to be.

    Environmental and uniqueness of humans means that hormonal health has often been chaotic for many - many symptoms are COMMON but by no means NORMAL or that women have to continually suffer --just because we get by - women need to be thriving and by getting hormone health under control gives the ability to function better without needing to be propped up by coffee / sugar and feeling like a fool for hot flashes
     I think education needs to start early - at school like puberty - and also on what is normal and not normal - Too many people think because it is common problems its acceptable,

  • Posted by SarahB March 05, 2023 at 18:31

    Completely agree too. Women's health has never been a priority and menopause has long been an ignored phase of a women's life. Considering how important a time this is and what a window of opportunity to improve post menopausal women's health and reduce the risks that can come with menopause, it is so important that this is taken seriously. Professional development of GPs is incredibly important so women can feel heard and supported at what can be a challenging period of time. Better understanding of the importance and safety of HRT is also important (NZ is way behind what is happening in other countries). I also believe that a more integrated health care model is important - naturopaths, nutritionists, health coaches, personal trainers, yoga and mindfulness practitioners, massage therapists and counsellors are all extremely important to ensure women get a more holistic approach and choice.

  • Posted by vic66 March 05, 2023 at 19:51

    Completely agree. GPs in general have a lack of knowledge about menopause. I had to find out everything myself, approach a menopause specialist .... and there are very few of them, and join Facebook groups for shared knowledge. I found Dr Louise Newson in the UK very helpful and the associated groups and info she has set up. Menopause nearly sent me mad. I had dozens of the symptoms on the list and was funeral planning as I thought the end was near. Both physical and psychological symptoms nearly ended my life and I had to step back from my job too. HRT has given me quality of life again but I'm on unfunded Sandrena gel as patches didn't work. All women go through menopause and many women will be negatively affected. It's time menopause care was improved worldwide.
  • Posted by rejectionyogurt March 05, 2023 at 21:48

    Please please give GPs training.. so they can watch out for women with symptoms and give them the oestrogen progesterone and testoterone needed to battle thru the next stage of their lives. Please give them training so they will listen when asked for body identical mht, because it is not dangerous and does not cause cancer, or clots and all menapausal women need mht to protect again brain disease, like dementia and heart disease, joint and muscle weakness, anxiety.. the list goes on and on. GPs hold all the power to dispense the body identical hormones required but many seem unwilling or unsure as they have no up to date training and think it can give you cancer from an old study. My own dr was in more of a hurry to give me anti depressants and arthritis medication than help me try mht to see if this was what my body needed... Luckily I could afford to see a specialist, Dr Linda Dear. Many women could not afford to and this is unfair to them. All women should be entitled to mht if they want it and think it will help them get thru their lives. We hold families together.. We want to feel normal.. We want to keep our jobs.. We need help once menapausal.. But the GPs are not listening or they are just unaware of new studies in the area of mht. Something has to happen soon. Many women feel desperate and get anxiety and want to end their lives all because they don't even know they need mht. My sister was one! Thank you for listening Paula Chandler
  • Posted by EBekker March 05, 2023 at 22:24

    I totally agree. This is a neglected area in medicine which can have a huge impact on the lives of roughly half the population. Increased awareness, education for GP’s and access to treatment is absolutely needed. This has been ignored for too long. Let’s change the future for women in New Zealand!
  • Posted by hilaryfleming March 06, 2023 at 07:59

    I totally agree. Menopause affects so many aspects of life . Women need knowledge, support and well trained medical professionals to be able to navigate the transition successfully. It can be a supremely difficult time in a woman's life and the knowledge and medications to make life bearable is out there - it's just not freely/easily accessible in NZ.
  • Posted by emmakate March 06, 2023 at 09:19

    A national awareness campaign to bring an understanding about menopause and peri-menopause is really important to help women and their families take more control over their health by being able to detect signs and symptoms, advocate for their health and seek support. Alongside health practitioners needs upskilling so all women can be confident they will receive informed care, wherever they live and the health service they access.
  • Posted by CathDodd1974 March 06, 2023 at 09:45

    I wholeheartedly support this.

    We women receive this massive kick in the guts at the end of our reproductive life and I personally think that a better quality of care is well overdue. Who takes care of those who take care of everyone else?

    I would like to see specialists and mental health professionals receive better training around the psychological impact of menopause

    I strongly urge the need for more neurological research into the effects of menopause on the female brain.

    Finally, I have struggled with energy and struggled cognitively and I am not working. In work, how many menopausal women find themselves struggling to complete tasks and managing their workload? Are HR departments even aware of this or taking it seriously? Are women losing their jobs because they are failing to achieve what they could previously due to their menopause?
    All I hear are diminutive comments about menopausal women from others who have not a clue what they are going through.

  • Posted by SarahJB March 06, 2023 at 14:23

    I 100% support this. More needs to be done to educate women, workplaces (especially HR teams) and of course GPs. Too much suffering is happening and we need to support women going through these life changes.
  • Posted by KimStevens March 06, 2023 at 16:18

    I support this 100%. I am currently on my menopause journey and have had a rough time of it. There needs to be more quality education/information so women know there is more to it that just hot flushes and mood swings.

    It needs to be talked about or even shouted about, every women goes through this!
  • Posted by MaJu March 06, 2023 at 17:24

    It’s shocking to think 50% of the population will experience menopause and yet there is so little time/attention given to it. I, like many of the other commenters, spent years going to my GP with perimenopausal symptoms and having difficulty functioning at work and at home. My GP only prescribed me MHT when I was already post menopausal (and I insisted) and it made an instant and radical difference. I can now see so many friends suffering with obvious perimenopausal symptoms that are not being helped by their doctors. I fully support the idea of professional development training for GPS but also an awareness campaign for women themselves.
  • Posted by JN March 06, 2023 at 21:17

    I hope that the powers that be notice that the feed back so far summarises how women feel when they’re faced with dealing with the medical conditions associated with menopause and perimenopause. This generation of women are brave enough to speak up about what they need.
    We need people to be educated about symptoms, educated about possible treatments, educated about the impacts this phase has on life. It needs to be normalised, prioritised and accepted by educating medical professionals. It needs to be accepted/understood by employers.
    Education and information are key to improved lifestyles for women at this stage of life.
    Personally I would not like another woman to be told to, “ Make an appointment with an older woman doctor.” All Doctors should have a better understanding.
  • Posted by jenni March 07, 2023 at 09:03

    I've struggled with gynecological issues since the the age of 11yrs, which finally at the age of 26yrs when trying to get pregnant was diagnosed with PCOS, which still today most GPS have no or very little understanding of. At 45yrs I had my uterus removed due to fibroids and at no time going through this process was I given any information about peri/menopause and the impact that this surgery could have on this. A few years later when I became of changes starting to happen once again with my body I was advised my GP that it was PCOS and likely that I was depressed, which I knew that i was not. A change of GP and finally got some HRT, but still not the correct information was given about the longevity of these symptoms or the ability to stay on HRT long term. When symptoms increased in severity and the current dose of HRT no longer effective, it took two changes of GP to get an increase in dose and a little more information. I get all of my up to date from UK Dr Louise Newson and take this information to me with to GP visits, because my GP is hung up on the risks from an old study that has since been proven to be incorrect. The knowledge and support for women's health is lacking on the front line, especially peri/menopause and needs to change because women in this age bracket is the largest and fastest growing population.
  • Posted by Janecr March 07, 2023 at 09:07

    Many women struggle needlessly through menopause and perimenopause. They are not aware of the options out there to deal with mood changes, sleep issues and the structural changes the reproductive organ go through.

    We also need better funding for products that support women through change of life.
  • Posted by human March 07, 2023 at 11:36

    I thoroughly support this idea. I find it incredible that my wife has struggled with menopausal symptoms for many, many years yet got no help from her medical centre as doctors tried all manner of things without ever mentioning menopause despite her age and the list of symptoms. She had to educate herself and push for specialist consultation. This lack of appropriate care has had a profound effect on her life and on those of us in her household, too. There definitely needs to be national awareness and GP education.
  • Posted by twinkletoes March 07, 2023 at 12:32

    No one told me how hard Menopause was going to be! I didn't know what had hit me! I started getting joint pain ( had no idea why as I am a fit healthy woman) so I brought a new bed! Then the fuzzy brain started! Then the whole libido thing kicked in! HRT has saved my life in many ways! However, half the time, there are not enough patches in the country, or I can't get my normal prescribed dose!
    We need to be heard!
    We need more menopausal aids to be subsidized like the gels etc!
    It's 2023, not 1950!
    Absolutely ridiculous that we might suffer because it's not spoken about enough, funded enough!
  • Posted by RDobbs March 08, 2023 at 14:53

    I completely agree. I am in perimenopause but suffered terrible anxiety, loss of confidence, hot flushes day and night, aching bones and so much more, for around 3 years, and had no idea where it was coming from. I can totally see how woman end up throwing in their jobs, leaving relationships, or worse. I thought I was going mad and the GP's answer was to put me on anti-depressants, which I declined. I did a significant amount of my own research, reading, talking to other women etc and then went back to the GP, for the 3rd or 4th time, and asked for HRT which they gave me. Albeit at the lowest dose and for as short a time as possible. I advocated for and was granted higher doses until I felt my symptoms were manageable. It shouldn't be this hard given 50% of the population are going to go through menopause. Better training for GPs, better funding and more education in the community would reduce both the strain on women and those around them. Allowing these women, often at the height of their careers, to continue to work in a supportive environment would be good for the economy too!
  • Posted by Ru82 March 08, 2023 at 20:03

    Completely agree. GPs need more education about perimenopause and HRT. I've been let down by my GP and now don't feel able to trust them. It's a very important topic that doesn't get the attention it deserves.
  • Posted by Megs001 March 09, 2023 at 11:37

    100% support this. So many women I know, myself included, have suffered a range of symptoms which they put down to depression or other mental health issues, or even other serious medical issues. GPs are so harried that if you do manage to get an appointment generally you feel that you don’t want to whinge in the 10 mins you’re allocated and opt to have the symptoms treated, not the cause (in my case anti depressants for my depression’, cream for my itchy skin etc). The lack of information from easily obtainable resources needs addressing. 50% of the population are women - we deserve a voice at every age, especially relating to menopause and peri menopause. We do not need to feel isolated, invisible or to suffer in silence. This is 2023 - NZ can do better!
  • Posted by Bynny March 14, 2023 at 10:41

    One hundred percent in support of a national awareness programme around the peri/menopause - for the public, within the workplace, for health providers (including nurses, medical students & GPs) and as an addition to the RSE health curriculum in schools. As the CEO of a health and wellbeing education provider I know that accessible & equitable education, information & understanding are key to improved lifestyles and better outcomes.
  • Posted by JacJenkins March 21, 2023 at 10:09

    I agree. I consider myself fairly well informed and as an ex-librarian with a degree in the sciences, extremely capable in terms of finding out information. Add to this that my partner is a long-term GP, and you would think that I would be able to help myself to help myself during menopause and post-menopause. Yet my research gave me either data from anecdotal evidence - for example "stop drinking coffee", and "many women say that ..." - followed by the comment that "... is not supported by evidence" or "more research is needed". At the other end of the scale was research which outlined how oestrogen affects the body on a cellular level. Neither helped, and in fact my single most helpful tool was a $12 neck fan from Kmart - which no-one ever suggested to me! I was experiencing hot flushes every 20-40 minutes and they were seriously impacting my life because they were accompanied by an inability to perform at a cognitive level and the fan helped mitigate this to some extent. I had HRT fears because of previous endometrial polyps and I could find no information at all about how HRT affected people with a prior history. I ended up going to a menopause specialist - which if I did not have medical insurance would have been horrendously expensive and out of the reach of most people. At the barest minimum I advocate for free and accessible menopause clinics run by medical professionals who are educated in the field. On a personal level, I refuse to hide my struggles and will talk about menopause with anyone and everyone - the neck fan is great at starting conversations!
  • Posted by taniakop April 10, 2023 at 15:19

    I totally agree with the first comment and all the following. They show the degree to which GP do not know how to give the full spectrum of advice from the simple practical to the more complicated medical. Too often a woman is led to believe that its in her head or you just cope with it. In general it is a taboo topic rather than one which should be out in the open. For me menopause related changes in hormones resulted in osteoporosis which was detected later than it ought to have been. If GPs cannot be up with all the play they need to know where to direct women to... even if its an online advice centre.
  • Posted by sroll002 April 18, 2023 at 16:07

    I agree with all these comments on here. I had to diagnose my own symptoms and make suggestions to my doctor as to what I needed him to prescribe for me. I wish I had known 10 years ago of the medications that were available to help lessen the effects of peri menopause instead of putting my family through my hell, especially my poor husband. I totally agree that G.P's need to do a course on Peri menopause and Menopause so that they can best advise their patients.
  • Posted by Sontana May 01, 2023 at 12:07

    My first time to the medical centre (in 2022) asking for HRT I was offered anti-depressants! And now, with the "global oestrogen shortage" I have been short-changed the $20 I paid for a script which cannot be fulfilled on its repeats. Neither the medical centre or the pharmacy are willing to take responsibility - because it's not theirs, but the supplier. Maybe I can afford to pay ANOTHER $20 for 100mg and cut them into quarters because I only require 25mg (and discard half because they only last for a week) but I imagine there's a lot of women who can't afford to pay the extra charge.
    Who takes responsibility?
    I have self-diagnosed my own symptons and since taking HRT for 3 months they've all but disappeared. I wish I was fully informed about what there was available about 10 years ago when my symptoms first started appearing and I could've saved a lot of anguish (and one broken marriage).
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