What is menopause?
The menopause is an inevitable event in a woman’s life which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but in some cases it can happen much earlier, whether spontaneously or because of a medical treatment. Menopause is said to have taken place when a woman has not had a period for 12 months.
Each woman is different and will respond to the menopause in her own way - both physically and emotionally. Before the full onset of menopause there is a stage known as the perimenopause. Not all women have symptoms at this stage, but some women may experience some of the following:
· Changes in menstrual cycle, usually shorter and/or irregular cycles
· Hot flushes and night sweats
· Vaginal dryness, soreness, and recurrent urinary tract infections
· Difficulty sleeping
· Mood swings
· Memory problems and “brain fog”
· Loss of interest in sex
· Weight gain
· Joint pains
It can be a challenging period for women which requires attention and support. We can offer evidence-based care, treatment, and support for women in the menopause and perimenopause stages to enable them to lead happy and healthy lives.
How to prepare for your menopause consultation ?
What to expect from your menopause consultation ?
Will you need any blood tests/ investigations ?
How will you be followed up ?
To make the most of your appointment please think about your symptoms and how they impact on your day-to-day life. When your appointment is confirmed, a medical history questionnaire will be sent to you which we would be grateful if you could complete. Ahead of your appointment you will also be sent a menopause symptom questionnaire which will help us assess the severity and extent of your symptoms. This will help guide your consultation and ensure we are able to offer a personalised plan, including treatment options relevant to you.
Our menopause consultations are available via video or in person at the Nuffield Tunbridge Wells Hospital. Initial consultation will last around 45 minutes and we will discuss your symptoms in detail and their impact on your life. We can go through management options, including hormone and non-hormonal alternatives, and agree on a treatment plan that is right for you. If you decide that you would like medication (Hormone-replacement therapy or HRT) following your initial consultation, this can be prescribed on a private prescription (you will be charged the cost of the medication). If you need more time to think about what we discussed, you have three months to get back to us (via email).
Within 1 week we will produce a clinic letter that will be emailed to you and to your GP (if you consent). We recommend you keep this letter for reference which will have information about the likely side effects from starting HRT and what to expect.
Blood tests are not necessary for a diagnosis of perimenopause or menopause as this is a diagnosis made on ones’ symptoms. Occasionally we can suggest certain blood tests to help us understand more about your symptoms and your health. Blood tests will be at an extra cost, and this can be discussed during your initial consultation.
A follow-up appointment is recommended three months after your initial consultation (for a further charge). At this appointment we can check that we have found the right type and dose of treatment for you or adjust if needed. Once you book your follow-up appointment, we will send you another menopause symptom questionnaire so that we can compare this to your initial score and ensure you are making progress.
If you are on HRT an annual review is recommended to re-assess the risks and benefits of ongoing HRT and to ensure your symptoms are still being adequately managed. This can be booked by contacting us as an existing patient.
NICE guideline: “Menopause: diagnosis and management” – evidence-based national guidelines and information for the diagnosis and management of menopause https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23?unlid=6027644882016418193752