Bristol Post

Women ‘struggling to get menopause treatment’


WOMEN are struggling to get treatment for the menopause or to be diagnosed with the condition, new research suggests.

A survey of 5,187 women found that many had suffered symptoms, such as hot flushes, and some had to visit their GP several times before getting the help they needed.

Around 70% of women in the poll were aged 45 to 55 and most of those had experience­d sweats, low mood, anxiety, memory problems, brain fog and/or joint pains.

The majority (74%) had been experienci­ng menopausal symptoms for more than a year, while 15% said this had been the case for more than six years.

The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.

But symptoms can occur years before this happens – known as the perimenopa­use.

The new survey was carried out for menopause medic Dr Louise Newson, who runs the not-for-profit Newson Health Research And Education.

In the poll, 79% of women had visited a GP with their symptoms and 7% attended more than 10 times before receiving adequate help or advice.

Of those who did undergo treatment (33% of all the women surveyed), 44% had waited at least one year, and 12% had waited more than five years.

Of those given treatment, 37% of women received hormone replacemen­t therapy (HRT) and 23% were given antidepres­sants.

This is despite guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) saying women should not be prescribed antidepres­sants for symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats.

Some 27% of women said they had also seen more than three doctors in hospital about their symptoms.

Dr Newson said: “Our survey confirmed that women are still facing delays in getting a diagnosis for their perimenopa­use and menopause and they’re waiting too long to get HRT, if it’s prescribed at all.

“Only 37% of women were offered HRT, and nearly half of these had to wait over a year to get it. A third of respondent­s were referred to at least three different hospital specialist­s for further investigat­ions when in most cases the perimenopa­use and menopause should be managed by a local GP practice.

“This is a huge waste of NHS resources, including increasing the strain and workload to primary care not to mention women’s time.

“Since May of this year, we are seeing a greater appetite from medical profession­als, especially in primary care, to learn more about managing the menopause. This can’t come soon enough for women who are struggling.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom