I’m writing these few words after yet another week filled with women desperate for help with debilitating symptoms of low estrogen brought on by peri menopause; including: low mood, heavy bleeding, confusion and overwhelming fatigue
“I was dismissed like a naughty child!”
“The doctor didn’t even ask me about my other symptoms”
“I was told I was too young for HRT and the risks of breast cancer were too high”
“My doctor told me to just give up work or go part time as my symptoms are normal for my age” (yes, really!)
These are just some of the comments reported to me by women desperate for help.
I speak to women most days who tell me that they just cannot get the help they need from their GP and often they are being prescribed unnecessary antidepressants for peri menopausal symptoms.
This practice is still so common even now and it really grinds my gears!
I have complete sympathy with UK GPs who are overworked and have such a short time to see each patient but it isn’t too time consuming to become a little more informed about the actual facts of peri menopause and HRT in order to signpost women to the correct treatments rather than to assume they’re merely stressed or imagining their symptoms.
With regard to HRT advice from some GPs: This is sometimes very depressing where women are told they are “too young for HRT” when they are in their mid 40s or have been prescribed a very old and outdated version of HRT (made from horses urine!) but have never had a medication review in nearly 20 years. (This is happening right now!)
Of course things slip through the net in busy practices, but I personally experience that around 80% of the women who come to me are being treated as outlined above.
What needs to be done?
I’m a planner by nature so it would seem sensible to plan for a medical appointment (which, funnily enough is one of the areas where I help women!)
Wouldn’t it be so much easier for both patient and doctor, if there was a short targeted questionnaire sent to women, available to pick up or to download from the online booking site; allowing her to briefly but concisely list her peri menopausal challenges and hopes regarding HRT?
The doctor has this completed questionnaire prior to the appointment; is able to take a quick glance at it (literally a minute or two), so making full use of the 10 minute face to face session.
It needs to be mandatory for all GPs to use trusted and verified sources to help with both diagnosis and treatment of peri menopausal symptoms and associated potential long term health issues.
I often say to my own clients that I feel privileged to be able to experience the menopause as until relatively recently women would be dead by around aged 44 and in most cases, before peri menopause hit, so the fact that we are now alive and able to treat those symptoms effectively, just as we do with many other health conditions, is something to be embraced and studied further by all of us.
Jane Pangbourne is an HRT educator, accredited nutritionist & women’s health practitioner.
When you need more help with your hormones, your symptoms, or your HRT choice, you can book a consultation via the services page HERE