The Menopause: Hidden WASH Needs

SLH Learning Papers 16
August 2023

This SLH Learning Paper provides practical guidance for the WASH sector on meeting the additional needs of women going through the (peri)menopause, a phase of life rarely spoken about.

The paper outlines what the perimenopause and menopause are, and how the WASH sector can use feminist and participatory methods to engage with this taboo topic. It draws on data from Ghana and the UK to illustrate (peri)menopausal women’s hidden water needs for bathing, laundry and drinking, and sanitation and hygiene needs to support menstrual health and hygiene, and incontinence management.

The paper provides practical tips for WASH practitioners to adapt existing programmes to integrate the (peri)menopause, outlining actions for programme start up and design, and programming activities which need to be undertaken.

Additional details

PublisherInstitute of Development Studies
ThemesGender, Health, Hygiene, Leave no one behind, Menopause and perimenopause, Menstrual health and hygiene
ApproachesLearning approaches, Visual methods

Bhakta, A. with Vernon, N. (2023) ‘The menopause: Hidden WASH needs’, SLH Learning Paper 16, The Sanitation Learning Hub, Brighton: IDS:,DOI: 10.19088/SLH.2023.014


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