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What is menopause?

Menopause is when women no longer ovulate or have a period. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55.

Many women experience symptoms before reaching menopause and this is called perimenopause. For some women, menopause may be triggered by treatment for cancer or other medical conditions such as endometriosis.

How menopause can affect women

The hormonal changes that occur for women as they approach menopause can cause hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood disorders or weight gain. Every woman is different, and symptoms can vary depending on a woman’s health, lifestyle, cultural background and family history.

Around 20 per cent of women experience more severe or long-lasting symptoms.

Hormonal changes during menopause can also lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone thinning. These conditions may remain undiagnosed until a woman has a broken bone. Each year in Australia there is a fracture (broken bone) every 3.2 minutes due to poor bone health. One in three women over 50 will experience a fracture caused by poor bone health in their lifetime.

Women experiencing menopause are also at increased risk of heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

Women may suffer symptoms of perimenopause and menopause in silence, or not receive an appropriate diagnosis and/or treatment options. For many, this can impact on their economic and social opportunities as well as their health and wellbeing in the short and long term.

Get free online help to manage your menopause

 For support and advice on managing your menopause, visit the NSW Government’s free Perimenopause and MenopauseToolkit. It provides tools and information from trusted sources, and offers:

  • a free menopause symptom checklist
  • a podcast about common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause
  • links to useful information and health organisations
  • information on support services available to women in NSW.

Menopause Services across NSW

NSW Health is establishing a network of Menopause Services across the state.

These new and enhanced services will be an escalation pathway to specialist care for people experiencing severe or complex symptoms of menopause.

The network will consist of four Menopause Hubs and a number of referral sites across the state. The Menopause Hub sites will be medically-led, multi-disciplinary services. They will provide a holistic approach to help women with severe menopausal symptoms, and the associated health risks of menopause.

What support will be available?

General Practitioners (GPs) have and continue to be a trusted first point of contact for people experiencing symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

If further care is needed, the specialist Menopause Services will provide support and expert advice on:

  • managing severe and complex symptoms of menopause
  • bone health for the management of osteoporosis and to prevent fractures
  • lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • supporting mental health and wellbeing
  • management of weight and lifestyle
  • managing urinary problems.

Where will the Menopause Services be located?

Two hubs are being established by expanding existing menopause services, and two hubs will be established in new locations.

The Royal North Shore Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Women have long been leaders in the treatment of menopause symptoms. Additional NSW Government investment means that these services will be expanded to become Menopause Hubs, providing support to other menopause clinics being set up across NSW.

The South-Western Sydney Local Health District Menopause Hub, and the rural network hub, led by Hunter New England Local Health District, will be new services.

These services will be networked with referral sites across NSW to ensure that women in rural and regional NSW have access to specialist menopause services.

Services will be designed to provide a flexible model that includes both in-person and virtual consults to allow women to choose how they would like their care delivered.

Dedicated clinic time will be made available to provide virtual medical consults to women attending menopause services in other regions. This will allow the greatest number of women to be supported across all regions of NSW.

How can I access care at a Menopause Service?

You should continue to seek care from your primary care practitioner to support the management of symptoms and risk arising from menopause. Your primary care provider will be able to determine if there is a need to refer to a specialist Menopause Service.

If you are referred to the service, you will be offered flexible ways to access care. You may choose to attend a service in person or at home using virtual care.

Current as at: Monday 23 October 2023
Contact page owner: Strategic Reform and Planning