Many women suffer terribly when it comes to their health midlife and their journey through menopause. There are several reasons for this, from societal prejudices preventing them getting support, to a disparity in care and the type of care on offer. In a nutshell, how we care for women, and how they care for themselves.
As a civilisation, menopause has been a taboo for too long with a notoriously negative narrative. And that’s before you throw in the challenges of cultural beliefs and societal inequalities. Whilst this is slowly beginning to change, it needs to happen with greater gusto.
From a healthcare point of view, although care has transformed over the years, more needs to be done. Time and time again I hear heartbreaking stories from patients sent away in dire need of care, told their symptoms are insignificant or that they’re too young to need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and are prescribed anti-depressants. This should not be happening.
In Japan, menopause is viewed as ‘The Second Spring’. Imagine if this was the accepted view in the UK? It could change everything
For women, knowledge is power – understanding the three stages of midlife health, peri-menopausal, menopause and post-menopause, is hugely important. From the typical time frames, recognising the symptoms, to the power of mindset.
Menopause is not a disease. In Japan, menopause is viewed as ‘The Second Spring’. Imagine if this was the accepted view in the UK? It could change everything.
But the most transformational aspect of menopause care is that we should be treating women holistically. You can’t separate mind from body, or vice versa, especially when it comes to menopause as every aspect of a woman changes.
I believe taking into consideration their medical needs alongside their emotional, mental health and nutritional lifestyle requirements is so important. As a menopause doctor and one with a focus in empowering women I saw a huge void, where the dots were there waiting to be joined up. Women couldn’t access care for their medical, mental and nutritional/lifestyle needs in one place with a team of clinicians who could collaborate if needed. We were only looking at one part of the treatment triangle, prescribing HRT, leaving the other two crucial points out.
Above and beyond seeing patients and lecturing GPs I had to do something, so earlier this year I created an online clinic to treat women holistically. Yes, they can be prescribed the gold standard of HRT, but they can also be treated by clinicians specialised in menopause care with a focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and the power of nutrition.
It’s this universal approach that I firmly believe will help thousands of women, trapped in the mindset that they simply need to put up with their symptoms and endure this period of their life. It’s this acceptance and inevitability I am on a mission to change.