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Mastering the Menopause Conversation: Your Expert Guide to Talking with Your Doctor

One of the key people to consult for support in your menopause is your doctor.

With some preparation on your part, you can help set up the the right conversation with your doctor, who should be well placed to help you with many aspects of your menopause.

Depending on your age and your countries guidelines, they may arrange hormone tests to diagnose menopause, support you to make an informed choice about how to successfully navigate menopause, potentially considering HRT as an option, consider and suggest many solutions for your symptoms and signpost you to further help.

Heading to your GP is part of your armoury to manage your menopause.

I'm often asked how to approach the subject of menopause with your GP.

We know that menopause symptoms are often dismissed by busy doctors who don't have the time in one appointment to connect the dots.

We know that getting a diagnosis can often take many visits.

We also know that many GPs understand only the basics of menopause and can be unwilling to consider the wider scope of menopause treatments.

For these reasons, it is easy to see why speaking to your doctor about menopause can feel challenging.

Your doctor can be a valuable resource throughout your menopause and beyond, but you are likely to have to do a bit of homework and preparation before you make your appointment(s) to get the best out of them, unless, you are blessed to have a GP who has an interest and training in menopause.

Here are my six tips on how to speak with your doctor about menopause.

Explain that you would like to talk about menopause.

Many people don't even raise the subject, and then wonder why their GP might not have cottoned on. Your doctor is there to support you, but menopause can present in so many different ways, it can take a few conversations with you GP before they focus on menopause, rather than stress and anxiety for example.

Don't be afraid to share your experiences and how they're affecting your life, work and relationships and say you want to talk about menopause

Educate and prepare yourself.

Take the time to educate yourself about menopause and its effects on the body - our free online training: Menopause The Basics is perfect for this.

This will help you better understand what you're going through and how different symptoms can be occurring for you.

Use the NHS Symptom Checker to gain a picture of your symptoms.

It is useful to take a list of your symptoms with you. Ideally, keep a diary of your symptoms for 2-4 weeks, so that you and your GP can discuss patterns and triggers.

Writing them down will help you focus on what your concerns are, and ensure that you don't forget a key symptom when you speak with your doctor.

Check the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines which have sections for both health care professionals and people in menopause.

Reading the guidelines will help you understand what your doctor should be doing, and will also serve as a refresher to them if they aren't up to date on current practice.

Take a list of questions with you that you may have around your symptoms and menopause.

Mention during the consultation that you have a list of questions to ask.

Have them written down, or saved as a note on your phone. This will help keep you focused on the things you wish to ask, and help get the conversation focused on menopause more quickly.

Take notes.

Set aside a few moments after you appointment to go over any key points that came up during you appointment while your memory is fresh.

Consider asking a trusted family member or friend to come with you.

Often having an advocate with you helps with your confidence and focus and let's face it, two brains (& memories) are better than one :)

Speaking to your doctor about menopause might feel like a daunting task, but it's an important conversation to have, especially as your doctor can help you work out the best options, including relevant medications, if that's your choice.

By being open and honest, educating yourself, discussing potential changes, and being proactive, you can work with your doctor to develop a plan that allows you to get the best out of your menopause support.

If I have learned anything over the past few years through my work around menopause, it is that we are stronger together - and that includes speaking with your doctor.

To find out more about menopause, join my free Menopause The Basics online course which covers those key aspects in just three lunchtime sessions.

Your coach, trainer and fellow life-longer learner,


Photo credits:

Photo by Nappy on Unsplash

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