Talking to your GP about perimenopause and menopause can be hard when you can barely think straight for all the raging symptoms. We asked a leading menopause doctor to explain how to get your point across and the help you need.
Do women feel they can talk to their GP about menopause?
Speaking to your GP about menopause symptoms should be simple, only it isn’t. When your menopausal symptoms could be the Greatest Hits Collection of 34 different symptoms, where do you start? What’s more, when a handful of those typical menopause symptoms are insomnia, memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety and depression, you might not be the most effective communicator. Throw into that mix vaginal dryness and lack of sex drive and it’s a wonder if you make it past the waiting room.
Who should you to talk to about menopause?
British GPs are a phenomenal asset to our NHS but sadly, many of them don’t have sufficient training in diagnosing perimenopausal symptoms and too many women are being incorrectly diagnosed, prescribed anti-depressants or simply not receiving the help they need. "It’s very difficult for GPs to tick off so many boxes and my view is that GPs should not have to do everything themselves but there should be designated menopause clinics that they can refer women onto,” says one of the world-leading specialists on perimenopause and menopause.
How to talk to your GP about menopause.
So how to convey all your perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms, then? Here are Dr Shahzadi Harper’s fail-safe tips on how to talk to your GP about perimenopause and menopause and get the most effective support out there.
- Make a list.
A lot of women suffer with brain fog and in that moment at the GP surgery, you might forget some of the things you came in with. That’s when you might worry you won’t be taken seriously. So, make the most out of your appointment and make a list of all your symptoms, even if you have to read it out.
- Only talk about menopause.
Don't go into your appointment with other complaints too because it will be diagnosis overload and there's no way that doctor is going to be as receptive and empathetic. For the best help, keep to just explaining your menopausal symptoms.
- Book a double appointment.
If your surgery allows it, request two back-to-back appointments so you have a full 20 minutes to speak your mind and your GP to work out a treatment plan.
- Be clear with what you’re feeling.
Tell your GP, “I don't feel depressed, I just don't feel like myself.” These are two very different issues that often get confused and a lot of women who have been depressed in the past can recognise that.
- Find the best GP at your surgery.
GPs all have different strengths; if there’s somebody within your practise who likes this topic and who's the go-to within the practise, request an appointment with them specifically.
- Ask to be referred to a menopause specialist.
Alternatively, if menopause is something none of your GPs know much about, ask them to refer you to someone who does. They’re professionals and it’s not offensive to get yourself referred on to somebody who can better deal with your symptoms.
- Go to a private menopause specialist if possible.
If you can afford to, go and see somebody privately – I promise it’s money well spent. We've all grown up thinking that the NHS should provide us with every type of healthcare but spending money on our health is a good investment. We will often go and pay that much for a haircut!
An unrivalled menopause supplement.
Whether you decide to go the HRT route to help you through menopause or not, supplementing in the right way can make a huge difference to almost every single one of those 34 typical symptoms. The gold standard of supplements, LYMA contains nine patented power ingredients
to treat body and mind. Vita-algae D3™ and K2Vital® work in tandem to distribute calcium to the bones and tissues of the body, thus eliminating joint pain, whilst Cognizin® 250mg, the world’s leading nootropic, nourishes your brain back into focus, restoring mental clarity. KSM-66® Ashwagandha 600mg, dosed at the clinically proven level, transforms bad sleep into deep sleep and HydroCurc® 600mg; an unsurpassed active turmeric that’s renowned for treating menopausal symptoms, delivers an unparalleled quantity of curcuminoids, reducing inflammation throughout the body. Anyone can feel the benefits of LYMA but as thousands of customers report every month, it’s when you’re needing relief through the stages of perimenopause and menopause, that LYMA truly comes into its own.
Originally published Aug 11, 2021.
Updated Sep 15, 2021.
Written by Jess Lacey, Beauty Editor.