Menopause is simply the name given to the last menstrual period, but for most women it means much more than this. It is the phase in a woman’s life when ovaries stop producing eggs, when periods begin to stop and when hormone levels change. Menopause is something that typically happens between the ages of 47 and 53. It can mean hot flushes, no more periods, an end to a woman’s reproductive years – and is a natural part of a woman’s life.
Many women will move through the menopause without symptoms, and without need to seek medical help or intervention. However, if you need further information, or are having symptoms, it can be helpful to talk to your General Practitioner (GP).
Lifestyle changes relating healthy eating and exercise will make considerable difference at the time of the menopause. For some symptoms, supplements can help. Other women will make the informed decision to take Hormone Replacement Therapy. There is no ‘one size fits all approach’, so please do take advice.
For any woman who would like further information about the menopause, the following sites are an excellent resource. Please do take time to read through prior to talking with your GP.
In order to make an informed decision regarding menopause management, it is necessary to know your Body Mass Index (The body mass index is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy) and blood pressure.
We have placed PatientPod in the waiting rooms of the Plympton Health Centre, Mudge Way site and the Ivybridge Station Road site, which can be accessed between 0800 and 1800, Monday to Friday without appointment, with the results automatically being placed into your notes. Please do attend either site prior to consulting with a GP.
Being post-menopausal can increase your risk of other health conditions, so it is important to attend your regular cancer screenings such as cervical and breast.
Other health changes post-menopause can include thinning hair, dry eyes, bone or joint issues like osteoporosis and arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and urinary tract infections. Please do take advantage of the NHS Health Check.
If you pay for NHS prescribed HRT medicine 3 or more times in 12 months, an HRT PPC could save you money.
Each item on an NHS prescription usually costs £9.65. You can buy an HRT PPC for a one-off payment of £19.30 (the cost of two single items).
The HRT PPC covers an unlimited number of certain HRT medicines for 12 months, regardless of why they are prescribed.
The HRT PPC does not cover all HRT medicines. Check if it covers your HRT medicine.
If your HRT medicine is not covered, or you also get prescriptions for items other than HRT medicine, you may save more with a 3 or 12 month PPC that covers all NHS prescriptions.
Before buying an HRT PPC, check if you’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions and other help with health costs using our eligibility checker.
Your doctor may wish to perform further tests in order to ascertain your personal QRISK3, a prediction algorithm for cardiovascular disease, and exclude diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Please do be aware that you continue to require contraception during the perimenopause.
The general rules are to continue contraception for:
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health guidance states: In general, all women can cease contraception at age 55 as spontaneous conception after this age is exceptionally rare even in women still experiencing menstrual bleeding.
Getting in contact using the online (eConsult) consultation form via our website is the most efficient way, allowing you to offer as much information to your GP as possible, prior to your consultation.
Every patient registered at Beacon has a named (usual) General Practitioner who will be happy to talk to you about your menopause.
As part of our Women’s Health Hub, we have a specific service to provide support to our colleagues within the Beacon and to provide additional medical input into the management of women presenting with complex menopausal symptoms, which have thus far not been managed by the usual GP, in accordance with the guidance provided by the British Menopause Society.
The Menopause Clinic will provide telephone consultations and as needed, face to face consultations with women to manage menopause symptoms, including offering lifestyle advice, hormonal and non-hormonal therapy.
We will be working with our pharmacy colleagues providing support in prescription management for women already prescribed HRT, especially in times of stock shortage.
In accordance with the current NICE guidance, we can discuss with women the role of testosterone therapy for management of menopausal symptoms and initiate treatment if deemed appropriate, in accordance with British Menopause Society guidance.
These services will be provided by Drs Louise Horrocks and Victoria Nute. It is a referral only service and patients need to have consulted with their usual General Practitioner prior to referral to this service.