Hot Flushes? Night Sweats? Vaginal dryness? Low mood? Irritability? Poor memory/concentration? Joint aches & pains?
It may be the start of the Menopause!
Menopause Consultations (with or without Hormone Replacement Therapy prescribing) are available the Bray Women’s Health Centre- we specialise in them.
All of our doctors are very experienced in this area and regularly attend menopause meetings & conferences to keep up to date. We believe that all perimenopausal or menopausal women should be assessed as individuals and; in almost all cases, should be given the option to at least try HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as part of the management of their perimenopause/menopause symptoms. Lifestyle modification (with advice on diet, exercise, self-care, smoking and alcohol use) should be an integral part of this and we can support with those issues too.
What is involved in a Menopause Consultation?
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have made so many changes in how GPs interact with their patients. We have developed a phone consultation option for menopausal women. We can discuss your symptoms and previous health experiences and, when appropriate, prescribe for you over the phone. There is a requirement to see women in person when prescribing oral HRT estrogen as it can affect blood pressure- so we need to know your BP measurement if we want to prescribe oral estrogen. When offering gel or patch estrogen there is no need for a patient to be seen in person initially. During the course of a phone consultation, issues may arise that would be best assessed in person (with a physical examination, blood tests, etc.) and this can be arranged soon after the initial phone consult if needed.
Do I have to have blood tests or a smear or a breast examination?
Around the perimenopause phase of a woman’s life, some women would like to have a health ‘MOT’. We can facilitate this of course, by doing general blood tests (cholesterol, thyroid function, glucose, etc.) if you are interested but none of these blood tests are absolutely “mandatory” prior to trying HRT. Some women feel reassured by having a clinical breast examination- this is also available if you desire but again, not mandatory prior to trying HRT. We can also help make sure you are up to date with your cervical smear tests and that you are registered with Breast Check for your mammograms if you are overdue. Sometimes we will suggest that you have a DEXA bone scan to assess your bone mineral content if you are at particular risk of osteoporosis or consider a specialist evaluation of other significant medical problems which are not obviously attributable to the menopause.
What kind of HRT do you recommend?
The Bray Women’s Health staff follow British Menopause Society (BMS) Guidelines which can be found at www.thebms.org.uk. The patient information website of the BMS is known as the “Women’s Health Concern” and can be found at www.womens-health-concern.org. These experts do not support the use of herbal products as an alternative to conventional HRT. Herbal remedies may well help some women cope with menopausal symptoms but there is limited reliable data on their effectiveness and in many cases their safety is untested.
The BMS also warns caution with regard to ‘compounded’ HRT products-sometimes known as ‘bio-identical’ HRT. Again, these products are often very helpful for many symptomatic menopausal women but as these products are manufactured by private laboratories there may be shortfalls in their concentrations & safety. There are a selection of “body identical” versions of HRT that are considered extremely safe and effective and are available through the pharmacies in Ireland. These are the products we recommend.
Please come and see us if you are concerned or if you simply just want more information about you and the menopause.