Holland & Barrett


 9 May 2024

-  Research reveals that 90% of D/deaf women have no awareness of menopause treatment options and how they work -

- There is no agreed guidance on the signs to describe menopause in the UK yet there are roughly 188,000 people who use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language -

- The Holland & Barrett Menopause Hub now hosts an online resource guide including, videos explaining different terms, common symptoms, healthcare and lifestyle advice, using aligned set of signs for the menopause  -

Holland & Barrett, the UK’s leading health and wellness retailer, has worked with My Menopause Centre and BID Services, a charity specialising in enabling and empowering people with sensory impairments, to create the first agreed British Sign Language resource for women experiencing the menopause. The resources have been developed by the D/deaf community, for the Deaf community, helping them to better understand the menopause, symptoms and treatment options and to communicate even more effectively with their healthcare providers.

The partnership comes following a study by the University of Wolverhampton that revealed a majority of D/deaf women (60%) do not have sufficient access to menopause health information in British Sign Language (BSL). More than half of D/deaf women (55%) are not aware that the symptoms they are experiencing could be attributed to the menopause, and 90% of D/deaf women have revealed they have no awareness of treatment options.1

There are around 188,000 people who use BSL as their first language in the UK, with the majority being under 55, and 49% female.2 Women whose first or preferred language is BSL often experience health inequalities and due to inaccessible services and information, many lack access to help and support. Until now D/deaf women only had access to secondary interpreted content which often does not come with explainers of the signs and terms associated with the menopause.

In response, Holland & Barrett, My Menopause Centre and BID Services have developed an online accessible resources guide which will be hosted on the H&B Menopause Hub. The uniquely curated resources provide BSL signs that explain the menopause, the symptoms and meaning behind them. These also include Frequently Asked Questions and a suite of videos explaining the many different terms people will come across when they start their menopause journey, as well as common symptoms, healthcare and lifestyle advice, all using an aligned set of signs to explain the terms.

Debbie Lang, Sensory Services Manager for BID Services, says: “BSL isn’t a direct translation of English and for many D/deaf women, English is their second language. Many women told us that when they were given medical leaflets and websites to look at, they reported difficulty in understanding them. English terminology used to describe menopause and its symptoms doesn’t always have corresponding signs and words are spelt out using individual letters, where there are signs, these can vary from region to region or even person to person, meaning it is a difficult landscape to navigate. By creating these resources in collaboration with the Deaf community, D/deaf women have told us they will help empower them to have these conversations and will improve their health outcomes by increasing understanding around the menopause and bringing together commonly used signs and their meanings.”

Helen Normoyle, co-founder My Menopause Centre says, “The menopause transition can be a positive but also challenging time – even more so if you’re D/deaf or hard of hearing. Our work with BID, in particular the series of face to face workshops we ran with D/deaf and hard of hearing women in their community, brought to life the challenges that women in this community face in awareness and understanding of menopause symptoms and the ways to manage them. The goal of our partnership with BID and Holland & Barrett is to address this inequality by empowering women who are D/deaf or hard of hearing with accessible, evidence-based resources to help them on their menopause journey, and GPs with the knowledge and tools they need to deliver high-quality, inclusive care to all their patients navigating menopause.”

Lina Chan, Director of Women’s Health, Holland & Barrett says: “One of our key missions at Holland & Barrett is to support women and their individual health journeys. Through our recently launched Women’s Wellness Commitment we are committed to increasing equity of access to information and services to all women. After focus groups with D/deaf women it was clear that it wasn’t enough to have interpreted content and there needed to be a deeper and tailored glossary of BSL signs around menopause that explain the signs and meaning. We are delighted to be working with My Menopause Centre and BID Services to be able to provide this guidance and to continue our work to increase accessibility for all women to support their unique menopause needs.”

This will sit alongside Holland & Barrett’s menopause information which is available in five other additional languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and Hindi.


1 University of Wolverhampton, Menopause Drop in Forums for D/deaf and hard of hearing women, November 2018 & March 2019

2 Traverse Research, D/deaf audience in the UK, 2019