World’s first menstruation, menopause and mental health conference aims to progress research

More than 150 attendees joined the world’s first conference around how menstruation and menopause links with mental health, held at the University of Exeter.

University of Exeter academic Professor Gemma Sharp set up the global 4M consortium three years ago, to bring together different disciplines to explore Menarche (the first menstrual cycle), Menstruation, Menopause and Mental Health. The group, which now has over 400 members globally, aims to work together to find new answers in an area of research which is underfunded and is still poorly understood.

The event, which took place on Thursday and Friday (June 20 and 21) brought together experts from across the world from a broad range of academic disciplines, including psychology, medicine, policy studies, law, humanities, and more. They were joined by non-academics including representatives from menstrual or women’s health advocacy groups, charities, healthcare providers, and FemTech companies.

Professor Sharp said of the conference: “We know there’s still a lack of research around menstruation, menopause and how they impact mental health. These issues can have major impacts throughout people’s lives. The world is beginning to wake up to the need for better research. We aim to bring together people working in different areas, to find new solutions which mean that menstruation and menopause, no longer adversely affect mental health and social wellbeing.”

The conference explored research on issues including

  • The biological, psychological, social, and environmental mechanisms that link menstrual and mental health;
  • How interventions can effectively target these mechanisms to improve the relationship between menstrual and mental health;
  • How these mechanisms and interventions affect menstrual and mental health differently in different contexts and at different stages of the life course, from menarche to menopause.

The event connected academics, including early career researchers, with the aim to support them to develop and sustain their careers in the field. The conference also facilitated partnerships with non-academics and organisations, who could provide a unique insight into research priorities, and help to ensure the research is used to improve the experiences of people who menstruate.

More information on the conference is available on the website: 4M Conference 2024 – 4m (