Most women consider menopause a natural process and do not want to take medication.
Qualitative studies show that women report both positive and negative consequences of menopause. Positive outcomes include no period, premenstrual symptoms, and requirement for contraception.
They write that the belief that aging can be delayed or reversed with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) persists and is reinforced by the media, medical literature, and information devoted to women. women, often motivated by marketing interests, they write.
Problems with the medicalization of menopause
Medicine’s limited focus on symptoms leaves women expecting the worst. This can directly affect how they go through menopause, as women with negative expectations often have more troubling symptoms.
After menopause, women’s attitudes were more positive, “suggesting that socially mediated negative expectations are not always consistent with the reality of women’s experiences,” note the authors. .
Studies also show that most women feel unprepared for menopause and lack vital knowledge about what to expect and how to optimize their health.
“Along with limited public discussion, poor education, and shame related to aging in women, this leads to shame and negative expectations about menopause,” they wrote. write.
“Normalizing the aging process in women and celebrating the strength, beauty and achievements of older women can change the story and provide positive role models,” they wrote.
They welcome new developments in the UK, such as teaching about menopause in secondary school curriculum, workplace menopause policy and online resources to help employers support their employees. Their members manage menopausal symptoms.
They conclude: “Although the outcomes of these policies will need to be carefully monitored, continuing to raise awareness through public health and education campaigns can support women’s expectations. – and enjoy – more positive experiences of menopause,” they conclude.
In her regular column, Dr Rammya Mathew discusses recent criticism of GPs after a series of documentaries about menopause by popular TV presenter Davina McCall. reported that “strawberries” women had suffered at the hands of their GP, after being told they had not. need HRT or they are not yet menopausal.
“I don’t deny that women in particular have been disappointed, and I applaud Davina for raising awareness of what is often considered a taboo subject in society,” Mathew wrote.
However, she says the truth is more nuanced than the many turns that have been made regarding the safety of HRT, which has had a lasting impact on practitioners’ confidence in the relevant evidence. available.
Women’s symptoms are not always attributed to menopause, and although the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks in most women, this is not always the case.
“Many of my female patients claim that I returned them feeling healthy after we discussed menopause and came to a joint decision about HRT,” she writes. And she believes that general practitioners across the country are doing the same, and receiving similar positive feedback.
“My experience is that as GPs, we spend a lot of time reassuring women that a lot of the symptoms they’re experiencing are explained by menopause rather than being a sign of something else. something more worrisome.
Over the years we have also made HRT more readily available, but many women still feel apprehensive about it, even as we try and put the risk in their context. “
An editorial recommends that health care providers take an individualized approach to assessment and empower women to make informed decisions based on evidence. evidence, unbiased is applied effectively.