Menopause and Perimenopause
GPs play an important role in managing your day to day health. They are responsible for the overall wellbeing of a person and are a point of contact for all specialists providing an overview of a patient’s health and wellbeing.
GPs identify symptoms or indicators of potential areas which may lead to worse health outcomes. They provide suitable advice and care pathways if required, ranging from adapting lifestyle, including improvements to diet and exercise, new prescriptions, adapting current medication or further interventions such as further investigations and onward referrals.
During menopause, symptoms can range from subtle to severe. This is a time when an overall evaluation of a person is important as metabolism changes begin to affect many aspects of a person’s wellbeing. There is no one test that can be taken to diagnose if a person is menopausal, the most effective method of diagnosis is to evaluate the symptoms of each individual patient. It is important to remember 1% of women go through the menopause before the age 40. Menopause is diagnosed once you have not had a period for 12 months or longer. However, symptoms of menopause can start a long time before you stop menstruating. This is called perimenopause. The most common symptoms I hear are weight gain, irritability, hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue and vaginal dryness.
GPs who have a special interest in menopause, are trained in general gynaecological health as well as the overall health of a person. Being able to know how to approach an overall health check for wellbeing and how to interpret broad test results is important when managing the symptoms around the time of the menopause. Understanding the background risk of a patient ensures effective and safe treatment. This is the unique role of a GP.
When seeking a GP who specialised in menopause management, ensure they practice the use of evidence-based testing and treatment to ensure the most accurate diagnosis and safest, effective treatment.
Menopause management is a marathon and not a sprint. The average menopausal woman will take medication or seek treatment options for 7 or more years. Some women can experience symptoms of menopause for as long as 13 years.
Finding a GP that you can trust and who is able to continually evaluate your overall health and wellbeing as your body changes throughout these years, is essential to lower your risk of illness and disease.
Several of the GPs at KFMP are member of the Australian Menopause Society; and all of them could be, as a practice we all embrace women’s health and hormone changes, and know the impact this time can have on your life. We want to work with you to improve your health and wellbeing by provide exceptional evidence-based care to all our patients.