Q. Should I go to my GP if I think I have symptoms of menopause ?
Unfortunately most GP’s don’t have any formal training in menopause. Unless they have chosen to specialise or have committed to further study, they may not have enough knowledge in this area to be able to offer you the help you need. In addition, your GP has only 10 minutes to assess you and decide on your treatment. One of the most common symptoms women suffer is anxiety and/or low mood and in a recent study ,over 60% were prescribed anti-depressants which is inappropriate in most circumstances for menopausal women.(NICE guidelines).
The Hormone Pharmacist has undertaken specialised training in all aspects of menopause intended for healthcare professionals (including doctors) and is a member of The British Menopause Society. She can provide evidence based information and discuss your needs at length ,assisting you in making the right choices for you in a friendly and relaxed environment.
This is a major transition in every woman’s life. It is worth investigating your options thoroughly ,talking it through and making informed decisions before seeing your GP.
Q. What are NICE guidelines and what is meant by evidence based information ?
NICE is the abbreviation for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. They produce guidance and advice for health care providers, using the best available evidence from research ,to ensure patients are given the best possible care at all times.
We will discuss the NICE guidelines and the evidence based information with you to help you make choices about your preferred treatment.
Q. Does HRT cause breast cancer ?
HRT with oestrogen alone (in women without a uterus) is associated with little or no increase in risk of breast cancer. HRT using oestrogen and Progestogen (in women with a uterus) can be associated with a small increased risk which is related to treatment duration and reduces once treatment has stopped.
There are many more benefits than risks to taking HRT and The Hormone Pharmacist can discuss your concerns at length.
Q .Are there alternatives to HRT?
There most certainly are! We will talk to you about all your possible options and will provide you with the evidence you need so that you can make the right choice for you.
Q. What are the benefits of taking HRT ?
Oestrogen replacement is the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. HRT protects the bones from osteoporosis and protects the heart from cardiovascular disease.. There is also evidence to suggest that it may protect us from memory loss, colorectal cancer and it is well known to help with urogenital symptoms such as weak bladder and dry vagina.
Q. Does HRT make you put on weight ?
It’s actually more likely to help with weight loss. Women are susceptible to gaining weight around the middle at menopause and as we age our metabolism does slow down, however there are ways to manage this. The Hormone Pharmacist can discuss weight management with you .
Q. I’m only 40, I’m nowhere near menopause, why are you recommending I see The Hormone Pharmacist ?
Good question, are you sitting down ?
The average age of menopause is 51, this is the day that you can say your periods stopped after having 12 months period free. HOWEVER…….not many people will tell you that it can take 10 years of having symptoms to get to this point. This is called the perimenopause. Just in case you missed me saying ‘average’ age is 51, this means that quite a lot of women can start having symptoms in their 30’s others start in their 50’s
Trust me I’m a pharmacist ! It’s only when I look back that I realise my symptoms were definitely occurring at 40. I had no idea, I wish I had .
So, in answer to your question, you should come and see me so we can discuss how you can recognise perimenopause when it happens and what you can do to get through this stage in life. We can also discuss your general health and lifestyle .
At least 75% of women experience symptoms and of these a third describe them as severe.
Be aware, be prepared.
Q .Will I get a prescription at the end of my consultation?
No.The Hormone Pharmacist will help you make an informed choice about the type of treatment you would like, you will come away with an action plan and should feel empowered to discuss your choice with your GP.
Sometimes you’ll visit the GP ,have a 5 minute conversation, won’t be sure you gave all the information and walk away with a prescription , still unsure if that’s what you really wanted. You won’t get a prescription when you visit, but you will have all the information you need and time to think things through . If you have decided to see your GP , you will know what you’d like before you get there. If your GP is not well trained in menopause we can arrange a consultation with our reasonably priced in house private GP’s.
NICE guidelines 2015
Cochrane et al,Hormone therapy for preventing cardiovascular disease in post-menopausal women (2015),Cochrane database of systematic reviews
V.Henderson,Cognitive changes After Menopause:influence of oestrogen (2008) Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology