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Menopause lessons at school 'an important victory'

Diane Danzebrink Image copyright Diane Danzebrink
Image caption Diane Danzebrink said she thought about ending her life during the menopause

A woman who fell into a "dark place" during the menopause said getting it taught in schools was "an important victory".

Diane Danzebrink, 52, struggled with the condition's symptoms, which were triggered by a hysterectomy, aged 45.

Her campaign to improve knowledge and understanding has led to the government deciding to add it to secondary school sex and relationship lessons in the UK.

She hoped it would boost understanding and help people cope.

What does the menopause do to the body?

Speaking of her experience, she said: "I fell in to a very deep, dark place.

"I was lucky; I had a supportive husband and family who got me the help I needed when I was not capable of doing that for myself.

"Since then, I have become increasingly aware of just how many women are not receiving the right support and advice at menopause, from their doctors, their employers and sometimes even their own families and friends."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption As the ovaries produce fewer eggs, the body is affected by falling levels of oestrogen

Ms Danzebrink, a psychotherapist from Buckinghamshire, started her Make Menopause Matter campaign in October.

One of the aims was for teenagers to be taught about the menopause alongside areas such as periods and pregnancy.

Health Minister Damien Hinds confirmed government support for the move, though the details are yet to be finalised.

He said: "We agree that this topic is an important part of reproductive health, and that all children should learn about this at school."

What is the menopause?

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Media captionMenopause: what are the symptoms and why does it happen?
  • The menopause is when women's periods stop and they can no longer become pregnant naturally
  • It is a natural part of ageing, which normally happens between the ages of 45 and 55, but can also be brought on by surgery to remove the ovaries or the womb (hysterectomy)
  • The body is affected by falling levels of oestrogen, and common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, sleep problems, anxiety, low mood and loss of interest in sex

Ms Danzebrink, who has also called for GPs to receive mandatory menopause training, said: "This is an important victory. Every woman and man deserves to understand this phase of life".

It followed a request from Rachel Maclean, Conservative MP for Redditch, who backed the campaign after her own experience of the menopause.

Writing on Twitter, she said: "Before I started speaking about it in Parliament, it had never been raised as a subject in its own right.

"It absolutely needs to be better taught in medical school. This is one of my other aims and I'm working on it as we speak."

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