As part of their remit to inform and guide healthcare professionals (HCPs) in reproductive health, the BMS provides updates on the availability and use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Although most people associate HRT with transgender healthcare, it is also a common treatment for symptoms of the menopause in cisgender women. On the other hand, although most people associate menopause with cisgender women, it can affect people of all genders. Transgender people need clarity on HRT, menopause, and all aspects of reproductive and hormonal health, but they are often left out of the conversation.
GenderGP appreciates the BMS’ efforts to increase awareness of post-reproductive healthcare issues, and we support their vision that all HCPs ‘should have a basic understanding of the menopause’. We would however like to highlight that Improvements can be made in the representation of trans men, transmasculine people, and non-binary people assigned female at birth. This lack of inclusivity is leading to whole groups of people being excluded from healthcare, as we have already seen with cervical screening.
Trans men and non-binary people may experience menopause if they keep their ovaries and do not alter their hormone profile. However, because they are not represented in the language around healthcare they risk losing access to care entirely. By making space in our language for people of any gender, and focusing healthcare instead on individual needs rather than gendered assumptions, we can help these patient groups achieve better health outcomes.
For instance, we looked at the BMS’ Menopause in the Workplace article, and rewrote it with more inclusive language:
Up to a third of cisgender women will experience severe menopausal symptoms that can impact on their quality of life. Because menopausal symptoms are caused by oestrogen fluctuations, these symptoms can also affect trans men and non-binary people. It is in the work context that menopausal people often report greater difficulty in managing symptoms and can feel embarrassed and unable to disclose their menopausal status, fearing they may be stigmatised for being menopausal.
The most commonly reported difficulties that menopausal people report at work include poor concentration, tiredness, poor memory, feeling low/depressed and lowered confidence. Problematic hot flushes at work have also been linked to menopausal people having a higher intention to leave the workforce.
Employers are being encouraged to offer awareness and support to this population of employees and British Menopause Society has brought together resources to help both employers and employees.
As we can see, small but simple changes and clarifications can make a difference to thousands of people. You can learn more about the menopause and perimenopause on our website, or ask a member of our team. If you have story about accessing healthcare and you want to share it, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or comment below.