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Raising menopause awareness

14 December 2023

The menopause is the time in a woman’s life when menstrual periods stop, and she is no longer able to bear children. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Despite the menopause being a natural stage of life with treatable symptoms, rather than a disease or a disorder, it is considered a somewhat taboo subject. Research is helping to improve people's understanding of menopause and open up conversations.

Dr Isabel Murillo, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Professor Vanessa Beck, Associate Professor in Work and Organisation at the School of Management, aimed to increase menopause awareness in the student population of Bristol University. 

Normalising experiences 

“As well as raising awareness, we also hoped to help normalise menopause conversations and experiences for everybody at the University,” added Dr Murillo.  “By providing information and the opportunity to talk about menopause, we can improve understanding of the detrimental effects of menopause and help to make it easier to seek help.” 

With the help of the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute’s research for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Health and Biomedicine, the team worked with six undergraduate student co-creators from the School of Cellular and Molecular and the Medical School, to investigate the level of knowledge about menopause in a small sample of the student population.

Focus groups and talks 

“Using focus groups and an online survey, we assessed the impact that knowledge about menopause has on the perception and empathy of the students regarding women suffering from menopausal symptoms,” said Professsor Beck. “The team also provided the students with informative talks given by four professionals from different health disciplines who had experience about of menopause. These provided sufficient information to students to understand what menopause is, its stages and types and the effects it can have on women. We assessed the impact this information had on the students using a questionnaire before and after the talks.” 

Limited knowledge 

The results demonstrated that 56% of students had limited or no knowledge about menopause, and 43% of non-health/life sciences students had never talked about menopause. 

“Only 15% of our participants had received formal teaching on menopause, but a staggering 100% of students thought menopause should be taught in school or University,” said Dr Murillo. 


The results have been published as an infographic and the team are planning to install posters around the University to share the findings with staff. The presentations made by the health professionals were also recorded, and will be available to students and university staff, as well as the general public.

Professor Beck said, “We believe this is a small but significant step to help everybody understand this natural, biological process – which affects not only women but anyone who shares their life with women.”

Menopause infographic (PDF, 307kB)

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