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How to Talk To Your Doctor About Menopause
Oct. 04, 2022
While 60 percent of women with significant menopausal symptoms seek medical attention, nearly three-quarters of them are left untreated.
Not feeling heard by your healthcare provider? We hear comments from women all the time about how their physicians seem to brush off their concerns about perimenopause. This is unfortunate, but it doesn’t have to mean that you don’t get help.
We asked Phenology Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Kourtney Sims for her advice on what to do if you need to talk about menopause with your provider. Dr. Kourtney (aka Dr. K) is not only a board-certified OB-GYN she’s also certified by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and a holistic nutrition expert. Here's her advice for what you can do if you feel like your healthcare provider just isn’t hearing you.
3 Things To Do If Your Doctor Isn't Listening
1. Hold your doctor accountable. “No provider is going to invest time that you don’t demand. So, if you feel like the answer they gave you was not sufficient, they haven't really answered your questions or assisted or helped you, then you as a patient have the right to demand that information before your doctor leaves the room,” says Dr. K.
2. Consider consulting with a menopause specialist. Visit the NAMS site to find a specialist and menopause resources near you. With some self-education, you may be able to better get your questions answered, or at least feel confident in background information.
3. Date your doctor. “[Your primary care doctor] may be great for other things, they may be great for managing your weight or diabetes, or if you're getting a general checkup, they may be wonderful for that,” Dr. K says. “But if they're not listening to you on this specific issue, then you might need to date a couple of other doctors to try to see if you get a better rapport with them on this issue.” It’s a pain to “shop around,” but if it means feeling like you’re supported, it’s a good option.
You Deserve Support
Ultimately, you don't want to be dismissed. “You don't want to be denied access to available therapies and therapeutics that could help you through this transition,” says Dr. K. “You don't want to be denied the education about what you should be eating, how you should be living, what you should be doing in terms of your mind-body connection.”
And the conversation about menopause and its symptoms should go beyond hormone replacement therapy (HRT). “Some women can't even get that at their provider,” Dr. K notes. “But a lot of women want to know, ‘okay, well, what else can I do? How can I change my life so that I transition well and I'm optimal on the other side of this?’”
The healthcare system in the U.S. is about as clear as mud, but one thing is certain: You should not be denied the education and information you need for yourself during this life stage. If you don’t feel like you’re getting that from your provider, there are other places to find support.
Looking for answers to holistic health questions like diet, exercise and nutrition? Try chatting with a Phenology Coach. These are Registered Dietitians trained in menopause-related topics that you can chat one-on-one with, texting back and forth in the Phenology App. Try it next time you have a question that only has you more confused once you Google it—click here to download the app now.
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