While 78% of Irish women experience menopausal symptoms that interfere with their daily lives, 77% say they lack knowledge and feel unprepared for menopause.
Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS) has launched a new postdoctoral research programme, coinciding with World Menopause Day, to bridge the gap in women’s health supports.
Research led by the SHE Research Group at TUS reveals that the majority of Irish women feel inadequately supported through the menopause and would welcome a lifestyle programme to assist them with their symptoms.
Funded by UPMC Institute for Health, researchers in TUS, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Waterford Local Sports Partnership (WSP) will work together to develop and evaluate a menopause lifestyle programme, to include exercise, nutrition and mental health supports.
According to Dr Patricia Heavey and Dr Aoife Lane of the SHE Research Group at TUS, the goal is to “deliver for women and support them though the menopause during what can be a particularly challenging time in their lives.
“The SHE Research Group strives to prioritise women and girls in research activity, applied practice and partnership projects. This postdoctoral programme, to develop a lifestyle programme for menopause, reflects this working model, developing, delivering and evaluating an initiative bespoke to women at a critical stage of their lives,” they explained.
Menopause and the impact it has on quality of life for women is a topic that has been largely ignored from a research perspective until now, according to Prof. Michael Harrison and Anna Louise Muldoon of the Department of Sport and Exercise Science in WIT.
“We are delighted to be involved in this novel project, which aims to develop a sustainable lifestyle programme that will be available to all women, enabling them to take control of their health and the associated symptoms of menopause. They will then be in a position to move into the next phase of life fitter and stronger, both physically and mentally,” they stressed.
Rosarie Kealy, co-ordinator with WSP, also welcomed the move to create the bespoke menopause lifestyle programme, which will bolster existing supports for women in Ireland.
“We look forward to being involved in this exciting project and to looking at ways to support greater participation of women in physical activity during the menopause
years through a better understanding of the adaptations needed and support required,” she said.
John Windle of UPMC Institute for Health, the body funding the research, added, “Funding research in the area of women’s health in a health and lifestyle intervention is so important, and we are proud to support this initiative with our partners. The availability of a health and wellness programme that incorporates health, fitness and wellness in to the daily lives of menopausal women is very welcome, and this will be based on academic research and best practice.”
He concluded, “I am also excited to announce that Fabrissia Ambrosia, director of UPMC Institute for Health International, will sit on the steering group and link experts from UPMC International Network on Women’s Health and UPMC Magee’s Women’s Hospital in the United States to help with the programme.”
The programme will include a thorough evaluation and roll-out plan to ensure it can reach women across Ireland.
The application process for the postdoctoral research position will open soon. More information can be found here.