How to talk to your GP about menopause

If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms to the point where you feel they are getting in the way of you enjoying life, it is time to talk to your doctor.

This can be a challenging experience. Some key points and guidance to help you get the best from your appointment include:

Do not delay going

If menopausal symptoms are affecting you, then there are things you can do and support available. There is no need to wait until symptoms feel unbearable.

Read the NICE guidelines

This stands for National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and these guidelines are what your doctor will use to determine the type of conversations to have with you and treatments to offer.

There are guidelines for patients which are really useful to read before you see your GP so you know what to expect. Print them off and take them with you if that helps.

Prepare for your appointment

It is easier for your doctor to understand what is going on if you provide them with all the information. That may sound obvious, but blood tests to say where you are on the menopause transition are not always available or accurate – your hormones can fluctuate daily during this time. The doctor will make recommendations for you based on your symptoms and medical history.

Keep a list of your symptoms, your menstrual cycle, hot flushes, how you are feeling, any changes you have noticed. It is also worth talking to friends and family, if you can – they may have noticed changes that you are not aware of.

Write them down and take them to your appointment. Your doctor will thank you for it and it is more likely that together you will find the right solution faster.

And, if you have any preferences about how to manage your symptoms and long-term health, tell them that too e.g. do you want to try hormone replacement therapy (HRT), herbal approach, changes in your lifestyle. It is your choice, and you should ask your GP about their opinion based on your medical history.

Ask for a longer appointment

If you do not think your standard appointment will be long enough, then you can request to book a double appointment.

Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion

If you do not feel you have received the help you need, ask to speak to someone else or make an appointment with another GP in the practice. Do not be put off, you know how you are feeling and how it is affecting you.

Ask if there is a menopause clinic in your area

Occasionally, there are regional clinics specifically devoted to menopause. The Sandyford in Glasgow hosts the Sandyford Menopause Service.

Take your partner or a friend with you

Your partner or a friend will know how the symptoms are affecting you, they could support you at the appointment and also find out how they can continue supporting you.

What to expect from your doctor

There are certain things a GP should – and should not – do during your appointment.

They should: 

They should not: 

  • Tell you that it is just that time of your life.
  • Tell you they do not prescribe HRT. It is up to you what you want to try and for them to say whether it could be right for you, depending on your medical history.

[1] This Guide is reproduced, with amendments, from Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace