National Menopause Summit 2023: Advocating Change

By Maeve O'Keeffe Heart News   |   24th Mar 2023

The Irish Heart Foundation was proud to be the Official Wellbeing Partner for the National Menopause Summit in Dublin.

The inaugural National Menopause Summit, hosted by Gráinne Seoige took place in Dublin yesterday (23rd of March, 2023). The Irish Heart Foundation was the Official Wellbeing Partner for the summit, and provided important information and resources to attendees on how to care for their heart health as they move through menopause.

The summit featured a range of speakers and panelists, including Dr Sumi Dunne, Loretta Dignam of The Menopause Hub, GP Dr. Máire Finn and, Dietitian Aveen Bannon who discussed the challenges that can accompany perimenopause and menopause. Speakers also discussed how to shift the existing narratives around menopause by debunking commonplace myths and taboos, providing inclusive and factual information, and advocating for change to support women in both their personal and professional lives.

" Heart disease and stroke has been under-recognised, under-diagnosed, and under-treated in women.”

Janis Morrissey, Director of Health Promotion, Information and Training

The Irish Heart Foundation’s Director of Health Promotion, Information & Training Janis Morrissey, was among the panelists for the summit’s discussion on health and wellness. Speaking on the panel, Janis outlined how, “medical research has really done women a disservice, as heart disease and stroke has been under-recognised, under-diagnosed, and under-treated in women.”

“So much around women’s health is around checking your breasts, cervical checks, etc., but what about hearts” said Janis , as she was keen to highlight the startling statistics that women are six times more likely to die of heart disease or stroke than breast cancer. She drew attention to the need for women to ‘take stock’ of their current lifestyle and use the self-care and wellbeing  journal developed by the Irish Heart Foundation as part of its Her Heart Matters campaign when they are ready to make a change. Other resources available includes an infographic about heart health and menopause, a menopause and your heart health leaflet and, real women’s stories.

" If you feel something isn't right, get help immediately."

Janis Morrissey


Dr Deirdre Lundy also spoke about how the drop in oestrogen that occurs during menopause can place women at a higher risk of developing heart disease or stroke. In discussing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the heart, Dr Lundy drew on the current research, but reminded attendees of the need for more research focused on women’s health. Dr Lundy is a key voice in the Irish Heart Foundation’s Her Heart Matter campaign, and her FAQ about menopause and heart health can be read here.

As well as providing information about how women’s risk of heart disease and stroke increases with menopause, Janis Morrissey highlighted how symptoms of heart attack can present differently in women, and often are dismissed or unrecognised. She explained how “the symptoms can often be much more subtle,” such as experiencing arm, jaw, neck or upper back pain, extreme fatigue, or nausea and encouraged women to “get help immediately” if something does not feel right.

Empowering women was another theme of the summit, and attendees left the event equipped with best-in-class knowledge and information to navigate the changes and challenges that menopause and perimenopause present.

Addressing the National Menopause Summit generally, keynote speaker Davina McCall described menopause as being, “like a second spring; it’s a time of being reborn and navigating your way through it.”


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