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NHS removes words ‘woman’ and ‘women’ from menopause page

The NHS has removed the words “woman” and “women” from its menopause page as part of an update to increase inclusive language in its web pages.

The latest update comes after the health service removed the same words from its online ovarian cancer guidance earlier this month.

At the time, health secretary Sajid Javid criticised the removal of the word from the NHS’ advice pages and said he did not “think it’s right”.

Previously, the menopause page introduced the condition with the sentence: “The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.”

It also previously said: “The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline.

“In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51.”

The current page for menopause now reads: “Menopause is when your periods stop due to lower hormone levels. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.”

An NHS Digital spokesperson said in a statement: “The NHS website provides information for everyone. We keep the pages under continual review to ensure they use language that is inclusive, respectful, and relevant to the people reading it.”

Commenting on the health service dropping the words earlier this month, Javid said he was “looking into” the change in wording.

“You won’t be surprised to know that, as health secretary, I think that your sex matters, your biological sex is incredibly important to make sure you get the right treatment, the very best treatment,” he told Sky News.

“I know there’s some sensitivity around this language, but we have to use common sense and use the right language so that we can give people the best possible patient care.”

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