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The menopause is a natural process that ultimately all women will have to go through. It can certainly be difficult and challenging at times, but with the right help and support, there is no reason why the menopause needs to hold you back. That’s where we come in.
The average age the menopause occurs in women in the UK is 51, and it is when periods have stopped for a whole year. Symptoms of the menopause usually begin around 45, this is known as the perimenopause, but some women do face early menopause from age 40-45. Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) is categorised as anyone who goes through the menopause under the age of 40.
Other symptoms include skin, hair and weight changes as well as vasomotor symptoms such as hot flushes and sweats, although only 20% of women tend to experience these symptoms.
Women will spend around 30% of their lives being post-menopausal. This can sometimes be thought of as a hormone-deficiency state.
Following the menopause women have less oestrogen. As oestrogen receptors are everywhere in the body all parts of the body are affected. Oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone are all produced by women, and women produce three times more testosterone than oestrogen.
After the menopause, women are at higher risk than men of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), osteoporosis, dementia and type 2 diabetes. Dementia is one of the leading causes of death in women, and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is less in women on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy).
For more information on the menopause, please visit the NHS Menopause webpage.
The most frequently used form of treatment for women suffering menopause symptoms is HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). HRT is used to prevent and treat osteoporosis in women which is a common medical problem after the menopause. Women who take HRT are less likely to suffer with spine and knee osteoarthritis.
Without treatment, many women find that the menopause may impact on home life, relationships and work, with many women being forced to reduce hours or give up work altogether due to symptoms. In addition, if the menopause is not identified as the underlying condition and treated accordingly, women can often end up visiting their GP with multiple problems and often referred for multiple symptoms.
Studies have found that HRT can help prevent cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and dementia. Despite what is sometimes reported in the media, HRT has been proven safe by numerous studies. It can be delivered through the skin in the form of a patch or gel, and can be taken orally, or also used vaginally.
HRT is not just for hot flushes and sweats, but all the symptoms of the menopause. Doses of hormone replacement therapy are variable and therefore can be tailored to each individual.
Even if you have been told you cannot take HRT in the past, our clinicians advise that it is worth having a consultation to discuss all the options available, as delivery routes of HRT have changed over the years, and not many conditions are excluded.
The newer types of hormones used in HRT are known as “body-identical” because they are the same as what your body produces, i.e. not synthetic. As they are replacing what isn’t being produced by the body anymore, this treatment is essentially topping up your hormones rather than giving extra. The newer body-identical hormones are derived from plants, namely the wild yam.
There is no time limit on how long you can take certain types HRT for, and this will be a joint discussion between you and your clinician about the benefits of staying on it (of which there are many) against the risks (of which there are few).
Risk factors associated with HRT are modifiable with lifestyle change. This can be discussed in further detail during your initial assessment.
Summerfield Healthcare aims to provide a patient centred service with joint decision making for perimenopause and menopause. Our menopause doctor does not just prescribe HRT, we provide evidence based advice and discussion about HRT and options available, guiding women through their menopause and helping to relieve symptoms.
Our service is nationwide and consultations are provided remotely by video or telephone, with blood testing carried out through our network of partner clinics.
We feel that you need time to discuss your symptoms in order for our clinicians to provide individualised care. The initial consultation is 20 minutes, twice the standard NHS GP consultation time of 10 minutes.
Following the initial consultation, we may prescribe medication to help ease your menopause symptoms, this may be through HRT. The most commonly used HRT is known as ‘body identical hormones’, which are licensed in the UK. There are alternative HRT options available which can be discussed during your consultation with our clinician, as well as non-HRT options.
Your follow up consultation is provided 3 months later, which is a sufficient amount of time for you to feel the benefits of your treatment. This also allows for any potential side effects to settle.
Initial menopause virtual consultation with a menopause doctor
Prescription if required, the cost of the medication will vary between Pharmacists
A follow-up consultation will be mandatory if medication is prescribed during the initial consultation
Additional investigations/ blood analysis may be advised as part of the consultation. Prices for blood collection will depend on location.
Private GP | Cardiff
Dr Hackwell is a multi-skilled General Practitioner with a special interest in women’s health and also minor surgery. She qualified from the University of Wales, College of Medicine in 1995 and now has over 21 years’ experience working as a General Practitioner. In addition to her skills as a GP, Dr Hackwell also specialises in women’s health and the management of the perimenopause and menopausal years.
Our private medical centres are conveniently located and meet the needs of families in a wide surrounding area.
33 Newton Road
Birmingham B43 6AA
Building 1, Charlesworth Ct.
Hotspur Park, Battlefield,
Shrewsbury SY1 3AB
8 Tettenhall Road,
7 Ashtree Court, Cardiff Gate Business Park
Cardiff CF23 8RW