stories of hope Managing More Than Menopause Symptoms

Menopause research isn’t typically covered in the news. It’s also not the most popular topic of conversation. Some women move menopause into the background of their lives—it’s a problem for another day, until that day comes and they are not prepared or have few resources available to them.

Story written and originally published by the Women and Children's Health Research Institute.

In 2008, the Lois Hole Hospital for Women Menopause Clinic was created to specifically address the concerns of women managing their menopausal symptoms and provides a full-spectrum of services to help empower women. Mature women’s health is a priority in the clinic, as is research in this field.

With the help of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation and the Women and Children's Health Research Institute (WCHRI), Dr. Ross, Cavarzan Chair for Mature Women’s Health Research and Beate Sydora, research associate in mature women’s health in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, have embarked on a mission to bring awareness to mature women’s health research. The hope is to start to fill the research gaps in this area and provide women with resources that may otherwise be unavailable.

Ross and Sydora started working with clinicians in the Lois Hole Hospital for Women Menopause Clinic in 2013. A retrospective chart review of patients suffering from severe menopause symptoms helped Ross and Sydora to better understand the complexity of symptoms and disorders experienced by women seeking help in the clinic. “Next, we are planning a prospective chart review that includes a quality of life measurement. It’s really important to see how the severity of symptoms affects quality of life,” explained Sydora.

 
"The goal is to consider patient experience. To me it doesn’t matter if you provide perfect clinical treatment, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t help women to feel better in some way, shape or form.” - Dr. Sue Ross

Other menopause collaborations have included research with clinicians from the Zeidler inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) clinic. With the assistance of students funded through the WCHRI Summer Studentship program and a clinical research and progress grant from the Centre of Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research, Ross and Sydora have conducted research projects on the experience of menopause in women with IBD. “It appears that a younger age of IBD diagnosis correlates with earlier onset of menopause,” said Sydora. “Our study didn’t reveal if this was due to IBD per se. It could be a number of factors. But for right now, the correlation is there and women with IBD should be made aware of this so they can make informed health choices when coping with hormonal changes.

These are only two of several studies investigated by the Mature Women’s Health Research group. Both Ross and Sydora are looking forward to conducting more research in collaboration with their partners from the menopause clinic. “For menopause research, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the support from WCHRI and the Lois Hole Hospital for Women,” noted Ross.

Equipped with a small team and a few grants, the menopause team is pushing forward to light the spark of interest and knowledge that will ensure mature women’s health research is no longer hidden in the background of women’s lives.

The researchers of the Cavarzan Chair Program of Research in Mature Women's Health are looking forward to the Lois Hole Hospital Research Centre opening!  Two of our main areas of research are in women's pelvic floor disorders (including incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse).  The Research Centre is next door to the Pelvic Floor Clinic, and just one door along from the Menopause Clinic.

"The researchers of the Cavarzan Chair Program of Research in Mature Women's Health are looking forward to the Lois Hole Hospital Research Centre opening! Two of our main areas of research are in women's pelvic floor disorders (including incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse). The Research Centre is next door to the Pelvic Floor Clinic, and just one door along from the Menopause Clinic."

This proximity is very important for all involved! For patients, the outpatient clinics are right next door to the Research Centre, so any patients interested in joining research can do so easily and conveniently.

For clinics and hospital administrators, the clinic space can be freed from research uses, such as patient enrollment, tests and examinations. For clinicians who may think of research ideas as they carry out their usual clinical work they will now be able to interact immediately with research colleagues while the ideas are still fresh and finally for researchers they may also have ideas for clinical research, and can now easily discuss potential research with clinicians of all kinds (physiotherapists, physicians, surgeons, pharmacists and nurses) as well as health services research which may be discussed easily with hospital administrators.


This space is truly set up to be able to change the future of research as we know it here at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.


The Women and Children's Health Research Institute and Lois Hole Hospital for Women are pleased to announce that more research like Dr. Ross's will be conducted at the new Lois Hole Hospital Research Centre opening at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women on June 5, 2018.

This important research space will provide the WCHRI team the ability to facilitate research in women's health without impacting the daily clinical care requirements of the hospital. It will also allow clinicians to easily participate and further their clinical research programs which contribute to improving patient care and enhancing the knowledge of all care providers.

Research in this facility will impact women at all stages of their lives. Current studies span reproductive health, mental and stress disorders, ovarian/ gynecologic cancer and mature women's health.

In a research-oriented hospital, like the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, the highest level of care is a reality. Clinicians work hand-in-hand with researchers on the leading-edge medicines and procedures to provide the best possible patient outcomes.