The British Menopause Society welcomes the further high-profile discussions about menopause and the role of HRT. The menopause transition can have a significant impact on many women, with more than 75% experiencing menopausal symptoms and a quarter describing their symptoms as severe. A third experience long-term symptoms, which may last as much as seven years or more.
All women should be able to access advice on how they can optimise their menopause transition. There should be an individualised approach in assessing menopausal women, with particular reference to lifestyle advice, diet modification as well as discussion of the role of interventions including HRT.
The indications for prescribing HRT include the treatment of menopausal symptoms, Premature Ovarian Insufficiency, early menopause and the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Women should be reassured that HRT is unlikely to increase the risk of dementia or to have a detrimental effect on cognitive function in women initiating HRT before the age of 65. However, HRT should not be initiated for the purpose of reducing the risk of dementia in postmenopausal women and at this time, there is not enough evidence to support prescribing HRT for prevention of dementia.
Regarding the role of testosterone, the current indication is for persistent low sexual desire after other contributory factors have been addressed. There is not enough evidence available to support it being prescribed for improving cognitive function, musculoskeletal health or improving bone density.
Most menopause care is ably provided by primary care teams, with access to increasing numbers of specialist services when required. If women feel they need more support, they can access information on the nearest menopause service to where they live through the BMS search facility ‘Find your nearest menopause service‘. This provides information regarding menopause specialists included in the BMS register. This online register contains 200 specialists, working both in NHS and private services across the UK.
The British Menopause Society continues to provide many resources to support women and healthcare professionals as well as education through the various components of the BMS Principles and Practice of Menopause Care (PPMC) national training programme available to support healthcare professionals who feel that they would benefit from updates.
The information provided by this programme highlights the importance of menopause health being put at the forefront of the healthcare agenda by the Department of Health and Social Care and its forthcoming Women’s Health Strategy with the objective of achieving the following:
- To provide adequate resources on the menopausal transition to support women in primary and secondary care.
- To support the training of all healthcare professionals in menopause management, by official organisations such as the BMS, RCOG and FSRH.
- Raise menopause awareness in the workplace including among all managers and staff.
- To facilitate further research into the effects of menopause and HRT on cognition, mood and dementia, and the wider role of androgens such as testosterone in women.
The menopause transition may affect women in different ways, and many women experience menopausal symptoms that can significantly impact their quality of life. Women should be aware that help and support is available and should consult their GP for advice. All women should be able to access advice on how they can optimise their menopause transition and be aware of what options they have to manage their symptoms.
Haitham Hamoda (Chairman BMS) and Sara Moger (CEO BMS).
Further information can be accessed through the following links: