Almost half of women (48%) have learned about the menopause from social media compared with just 15% who have obtained information from healthcare professionals, a new survey by campaign group Menopause Mandate has suggested.

However, 80% of the 2,300 women who responded to the survey – conducted to mark World Menopause Day today – said they were seeking medical advice from their NHS GP.

The campaign group recognised that its survey had been undertaken by Menopause Mandate supporters, meaning some results were likely to be skewed – including that 71% of respondents said they were using HRT compared to the national statistic of 15% of women aged 45 to 54 in England.

But it also found that nearly 50% of respondents had taken over a year to realise that they might be perimenopausal or menopausal, and as many as 96% said menopause symptoms were affecting their quality of life.

Mariella Frostrup, chair of Menopause Mandate, said: ‘Like many millions of women I stumbled into menopause with no knowledge of what was happening to my mind and body.

‘Therefore, the results of the menopause mandate survey presents mixed messages.

‘Certainly our supporters are leading the way in terms of self-information and replenishing their dwindling but essential hormones, but the fact they’re having to self-diagnose so much of the time is an indication of how far we still have to go.’

Two years ago, the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on menopause, led by Carolyn Harris MP, launched an inquiry into the impact of menopause on women, families and society.

As a result, the APPG has made the following seven recommendations for reform and, ahead of the next election, is calling on all political parties to commit to these:

  • Menopause health check at 40
  • National formulary for HRT
  • Incentivising GP menopause diagnosis
  • Mandated menopause action plans in large companies
  • Licensing of female-specific testosterone
  • More funding for menopause research
  • Review and improve specialist care provision.

Menopause Mandate has given its backing to all seven of the suggested reforms.

The group said it was vital that people are ‘told about perimenopause and menopause in advance of or around the time that fluctuating hormones start to make their presence felt’.

And today, it launched its #MM40+ campaign which demands that perimenopause and menopause is included in the NHS over 40s health check – in line with the recommendations of the APPG.

‘It seems beyond short-sighted not to mention the subjects at this time, when many women are already experiencing symptoms and others are on the cusp of doing so,’ said Menopause Mandate.

‘The effects of ignorance are incredibly damaging and, as we know, can lead to years of suffering, job loss, broken relationships, and worse.’

This article first appeared on our sister title, Nursing in Practice.