Menopause can be a challenging time. Many women experience physical and emotional changes that affect their daily life. If this sounds like you, it's reassuring to know that your doctor can provide helpful advice, and may identify options to help you manage your symptoms. Talking about menopause can be quite personal, but knowing what you’re likely to talk about and having some good questions to ask, can help make the conversation a little easier.
Menopause is different for every woman
How menopause affects you is completely personal. While a small number of women breeze through menopause with barely any symptoms, others may find it distressing or experience anxiety, lack of energy or a feeling of not being in control of their bodies.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Around 80% of women experience menopausal symptoms.1 These may include the well-recognised hot flushes, vaginal changes and mood swings, but you may also experience symptoms like crawling or itchy skin, tiredness, bloating or headaches.
If menopause symptoms are affecting your daily life, it's time to talk to your doctor and take back control.
Your doctor can consider the different symptoms you are experiencing, your age, and your overall health – and then talk with you about management options that suit your individual needs.
Remember, no one knows your own body like you do. Discussing how you are feeling, even if it seems unrelated, is the first step towards finding a solution. Your doctor is there to listen and help you confidently decide on what’s best for you.
Finding a doctor who's the right fit for you
Choosing a doctor is a personal decision. It’s essential that you feel comfortable with them and trust them to give you all the information and support you need.
Be sure to book an appointment specifically to discuss menopause. There is a lot to talk about and understand, and it is too important to tag the conversation onto the end of another appointment. If possible, book a double or long appointment.
How you decide on a doctor will be different for every woman. Here are some things to consider:
- Do you feel your doctor is listening carefully to you?
- Has your doctor proactively discussed menopause with you before?
- Do they have experience with menopause? Are there other women in the doctors’ waiting room similar to your age?
- Are you happy with how your doctor speaks to you about menopause?
- Is your doctor able to provide the detail you need?
- Do girlfriends around the same age as you have a doctor they recommend?
If you feel that your doctor is not the right fit for you, don’t be afraid to look for another opinion, or ask for a referral to a gynaecologist.
A good doctor will not hesitate or be offended about referring you on.
What should you talk about?
Your health, habits and family history can all be important for the advice your doctor will give. Think about the questions below before your appointment to help get the most out of the time with your doctor:
- When was your last period?
- What symptoms are you having, and when did they start?
- Is there something that triggers them?
- How frequently do they occur?
- How much are they affecting your life?
- Do you know of any major health concerns in close (especially female) relatives?
Your doctor will also ask you about lifestyle habits such as your diet, exercise, sleeping patterns, smoking and alcohol intake.
You may also like to complete the Menopause Symptoms Checklist and print out your results. This can give you a clearer picture of your symptoms and help to start the conversation with your doctor.
What questions should you ask?
You may want to consider asking your doctor:
- Do I need any tests?
- What options are available to help me?
- When should I come back for a follow-up appointment?
We have compiled a list of suggested questions here.
Ask as many questions as you need to and provide as much detail as you can to ensure you get the right support and treatment for your symptoms
So, what are you waiting for? If menopause symptoms are affecting your daily life, it's time to take back control and tell Menopause who is boss in this relationship! Make your doctor's appointment today.
- 1. Jean Hailes for Women's Health. Menopause symptoms. Accessed 10 January 2020