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Do You & Should You Need a Medical Degree to Understand The Menopause

quick vids Apr 12, 2024

This was a question posed to Alicia in the comments of her quick vid on Tiktok -How Long Does Menopause Last 
and even though the person didn’t quite explain themselves many women watching definitely understood this important point and commented alongside us - ‘You shouldn’t need a medical degree to understand the basic terminology of Menopause, in fact you shouldn’t need any form of qualification to know about and understand how hormones work within a woman’s body’  - yet, despite the celebrity attention, increasing amount of specialists and of women learning & sharing on social media, many women still don’t know the basics - still don’t know the difference between Perimenopause, Menopause and Post Menopause and the terminology medical professionals use in practice. 

So who do you turn to to find out more and why is a medical degree not always the answer? 

Many of us don’t think about the menopause until we are suffering from a range of symptoms which are effecting us so much that we can no longer function as the person we once were. By this point our GP seems the sensible choice to find out what’s going on. And even though we do encourage you to visit a medical professional for advice and to rule out other underlying health conditions, did you know that GPs are not required to undergo any menopause specific training. In fact it is only from this year, 2024 that all new doctors will be required to complete mandatory women’s health training, under the Government’s first-ever Women’s Health strategy published in 2022.

However, despite the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee recommending that the menopause be given ‘more priority’ in initial training for GPs and it becoming a ‘mandatory aspect’ of continuing GP professional development, in 2023 the government stated that: ‘GPs are responsible for ensuring their own clinical knowledge remains up-to-date and for identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development’ and ‘The Royal College of General Practitioners regularly review training provision and requirements for GPs. The Government cannot respond on behalf of the RCGP; however, the RCGP position is that mandating menopause training is not necessary.’

This unfortunately means that many women are experiencing a post code lottery when it comes to Menopause Care, many women are misdiagnosed  or receive incomplete or generalised advice on menopause, leaving women suffering with symptoms unnecessarily with nowhere else to turn. 

For those GPs who are fully trained and up to date on Menopsuse Care, they face the challenge of time to spend with patients. Women from our community who have visited private practices such as The Amara Clinic or Health In Menopause  tell us that the difference is in the time spent with them. Specialists such as Dr Anne Henderson of The Amara Clinic take the time to listen and assess medical history, lifestyle, circumstances, effects of symptoms and needs of the woman before deciding on the path and treatment which is right for them. They take the time to explain what is happening and tailor and tweak treatment. Many NHS GP’s simply do not have time for this.

So we do agree that the medical degree may be required to weigh up and advise on medical concerns, dosages of HRT assessing and reviewing ongoing symptoms in relation to medical treatments, but in order to make the most of the medical expertise when we require it, we need to be educated and go prepared in the first place. We need to find reputable sources to learn from and to understand the basics and we need to share the information with other women. The information is not complex, does not require a medical degree and should be readily available. 

This is why Pause & Unite was created, we believe in educating women of all ages about hormone health, to ensure high quality, accurate information, we we have brought specialists to our website, this is why we interview Doctors, Consultants, Hormone & Health Coaches, Nutritionists, Therapists, Practitioners who are working with perimenopausal and post menopausal women every day. So that we can establish those basics from reputable sources, so that you can find answers to the common questions, so that you can understand what your options may be and feel empowered to explore further. 

We don’t need a medical degree to bring together information, to share information from reputable sources and to support women in working out what is right for them as individuals in their journey. 

READ NEXT - How To Prepare Yourself For Visiting The GP about Your Perimenopause Symptoms 


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