There are many reasons why pharmacists should be leading providers of menopause advice and care in primary care – not least for their personal wellbeing – suggests pharmacist and menopause lead at NHS England, Bukky Ayoade

As pharmacists, we are gatekeepers of healthcare, entrusted with the wellbeing of our patients. However, amid our commitment to serving others, there is the possibility to overlook our own health needs.

This article invites you to embark on a journey of self-awareness and empowerment as we explore the significance of menopause care within the pharmacy profession.

I have been a pharmacist for over 35 years and although my career has not taken the traditional trajectory, I have always worked in healthcare, and I am deeply passionate about pharmacists and our beloved profession. I also am post-menopausal and I have taken a lifestyle and holistic approach to my own menopause care and supported the care of women in my community.

I now lead a workstream on the responsible for creating and launching menopause support interventions for our NHS workforce and tools for clinicians and patients.

Understanding menopause

Menopause - often dubbed the ‘change of life’ - marks the end of a woman's reproductive years. Yet, it is far more than a mere biological event: it encompasses a myriad of physical, emotional, and psychological changes. From hot flushes to mood swings, the symptoms of menopause can be impactful. What's more, these challenges are not exclusive to our patients - they resonate deeply within our own ranks.

Statistics for the pharmacy profession in the UK show most pharmacists are female (62%), as are most pharmacy technicians (88%).1 It is also worth noting at this point that menopause doesn’t just affect women, as transgender, non-binary, and intersex colleagues can also be impacted by menopause symptoms.

It’s important that menopause care is on the radar for us all as a profession.

Some menopause basics2,3

The menopause is when periods stop due to lower hormone levels; this usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. A woman reaches menopause when she has not had a period for 12 consecutive months (for women reaching menopause naturally).The average age of onset is 51 years, but this can be lower in other ethnic groups or for women with certain conditions (surgery to remove the ovaries or the uterus, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, or for a genetic reason).

Perimenopause is the period leading up to menopause and is when symptoms start before periods stop, and is a key phase to be aware of. It is when symptoms start - and when you need to start to 'pay attention' and put in place your own menopause care plan, so you have an empowered and well-managed transition.

The following are the most common symptoms of menopause:

Physical symptoms are change in periods (heavier or lighter), hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, headaches, muscle aches and joint pains, changing body shape, skin changes (dry, itchy), or low or loss of libido.

Psychological symptoms are mood changes, anxiety, lost confidence, low self-esteem or problems with memory, concentration (also known as ‘brain fog’).

Vaginal symptoms are reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness, and pain, itching or discomfort during sex, repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs), or more frequent

Personal wellbeing

As pharmacists, we pride ourselves on our ability to care for others. But what about our own wellbeing? What does menopause mean for us?

Menopause does not discriminate: it affects us all, regardless of our professional titles. The first step towards empowerment is to acknowledge the impact of menopause on our own health and wellbeing, and to gain awareness of what this life stage is; the vast array of menopause symptoms, and then to understand our own symptoms, and to seek out information on how best to manage our symptoms.

It's time to prioritise self-care, and to adopt strategies for managing menopausal symptoms in our home and work lives.

From lifestyle adjustments to stress management techniques and prescribed medication, there are many ways to navigate this transformative phase with grace and resilience.

Remember, self-care is not selfish; it is a prerequisite for effective caregiving. By investing in our own wellbeing, we can better serve our patients and inspire others to do the same.

Professional engagement

As pharmacists, we are uniquely positioned to play a pivotal role in menopause care. Armed with our expertise in medicines management and patient education, we can offer invaluable support to menopausal women seeking relief from their symptoms.

By providing accurate information and compassionate guidance, we can empower women and others affected to make informed decisions about their health.

However, our impact extends beyond the confines of the pharmacy walls. Through collaboration with healthcare providers and advocacy for comprehensive menopause care, we can drive meaningful change in our communities. From conducting menopause clinics to leading educational workshops, the possibilities are endless. I encourage you to harness your professional power to elevate the standard of menopause care everywhere.

I hope this piece inspires more pharmacists to become curious and more involved in menopause care. Though it might feel like the ‘menopause Wild West’ out there, I truly believe pharmacy is a group that has a right to beat the menopause drum and beat it loudly, alongside others in primary care. I know there are many of you doing this already, as I have reached out and spoken to some of you.

Gender sensitivity

In a profession predominantly led by women, the topic of the menopause may seem taboo, particularly for our male counterparts. However, it is essential for all pharmacists to recognise the importance of menopause care and their role in supporting female colleagues and patients.

By fostering a culture of inclusivity and empathy, we can create a workplace where menopause is openly discussed and compassionately addressed.

To our male colleagues, I urge you to approach a conversation with an open mind and a compassionate heart. Your support and understanding are invaluable to the women you interact with. Together, let us break down the barriers and pave the way for a more inclusive and supportive pharmacy profession.

Increased menopause awareness will benefit you at work, at home, in your families and in the communities you are involved with.

Call to action

Let us acknowledge the profound impact that we as pharmacists can have on our own menopause care, and on the lives of others. The journey towards personal and professional wellness starts from prioritising our own wellbeing and leads to empowering our patients.

I urge pharmacists to heed the call to action to embrace menopause care as a vital aspect of your practice. Together, we can navigate this transformative phase with confidence, compassion, and resilience.

So, I ask again, what does menopause mean for you as a pharmacist? It is not merely a biological event. It is an opportunity for growth, empowerment and advocacy. Please seize this moment and pave the way for a brighter, healthier future ­- for us, and for those we serve.

Bukky Ayoade is a menopause specialist pharmacist, health coach, and menopause lead at NHS England

Look out for more articles in this series on the menopause and pharmacy.


  1. General Pharmaceutical Council
  2. NHS website. Menopause
  3. NHS National Menopause Clinical Reference Group/Self Care Forum. Fact Sheet No 22: Menopause


These are a few resources you might find helpful during your practice; many you will be familiar with already but it’s helpful to bring a reminder to these. Some are suitable for HCPs, and some that you can signpost patients to.

NHS resources

  1. NHS website. Menopause
  2. NHSE menopause guidance. Supporting our NHS people through menopause: guidance for line managers and colleagues
  3. NHS National Menopause Clinical Reference Group/Self Care Forum. Fact Sheet No 22: Menopause
  4. NHSE Menopause modules (elearning for healthcare hub) – menopause awareness core module and module for occupational health professionals

For clinicians

  1. Rock My Menopause campaign
  2. British Menopause Society. BMS Principles and Practice of Menopause Care (PPMC) Resources Toolkit
  3. Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education (CPPE). Elearning programme. Menopause: an introduction for pharmacy professionals
  4. Queer/LBGTQIA+ Menopause com/

For patients

  1. Rock My Menopause campaign
  2. Women’s Health Concern factsheets
  3. NHS website. Menopause
  4. NHS National Menopause Clinical Reference Group/Self Care Forum. Fact Sheet No 22: Menopause
  5. Queer/LBGTQIA+ Menopause com/