Many women who are going through the menopause, or suspect that they are, will visit their doctor. Some of us will even visit our doctor because we have started to feel differently and aren’t quite sure why.

As Nice guidelines for doctors were issued in November 2015, sadly this means lots of doctors aren’t experts in the subject. I have spoken to many women who feel like their doctor hasn’t listened or supported them, and they leave the surgery feeling frustrated, and unsupported. So why is this?

Some doctors it seems are not willing to talk about menopause and will either not mention it or say things like,” you are much too young for that.” The average age for menopause is 51, however perimenopause often starts much younger than that. It can happen any time from the age of 45 and it can bring all of the symptoms of menopause with it. There are over 30 symptoms, with the most common being hot flushes, fatigue, memory loss, anxiety and sleepless nights to name but a few.

Some doctors seem to have the very strong opinions and might suggest what they are used to prescribing or what they believe is best for you but remember it’s your body therefore it’s vital that you know what your options are.

What are my options?

Option 1: The medical route which includes HRT of which there are many forms. Unless there is a medical reason you can’t go on it, this option can be a godsend for many women and comes with minimal risks. Also some SSRI’s (antidepressants) can stop hot flushes.

Option 2: The herbal route, which some doctors may call quackery, as their effectiveness is not proven clinically. This route works for many women, however make sure anything you take doesn’t interfere with any conventional medicine you’re on.

Option 3: Holistic treatments, which includes yoga, acupuncture etc. and finally, what you can do yourself. Your diet, lifestyle, how much you drink and whether you’re a smoker. You may wish to try a combination of options.

There are a number of excellent doctors out there but you just have to find them which can be difficult.

How can I get the best from my doctor’s appointment?

  • When you book an appointment with your doctor, book a double or longer appointment if possible. There will be a lot to talk about, so don’t mention it in the last 20 seconds of another appointment!
  • Be clear about your symptoms and what you want to treat. Talk about how you feel, and the impact on you, your life and work. Nobody knows your body like you do. If at any point, you feel as if you are being dismissed, explain that what you have been experiencing isn’t normal for you. Making a list of things you want to discuss can help you make sure that you’ve covered everything.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When a test or treatment is suggested, ask them why they think that’s the best treatment for you. Ask about the risks and benefits of treatments, and if there are other things you can do to help manage your symptoms, like exercise or other lifestyle changes. If you don’t understand something, ask them to clarify. Being better informed means that you can make better decisions about treatment.
  • If you want to manage your symptoms as naturally as possible, don’t be afraid to say so. It’s your body and you know what’s best for you.
  • Finally, if you’re really not happy seek a second opinion. Some doctors have been known to misdiagnose the menopause when it’s something else or fail to provide the support you need. There a small number of menopause clinics around the country so ask if there is one near you or speak to another doctor

 

Raising awareness about the menopause among women, men, and employers is all about education and making it comfortable and acceptable for people to speak about it. Menopause is not a condition to be treated and cured, it’s a normal stage of life that every woman goes through. Helping people to realise this is my mission.

My training events are aimed at educating HR professionals, managers, and working women about the menopause in a fun, engaging, and informative way.

If you’d like to find out more, contact me at sharon@missmenopause.co.uk

You can also join my Facebook group or my Facebook and Twitter campaign #wearemenopause

 

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