- I went to two women “hormone specialists” who would only throw antidepressants at me when I wasn’t depressed, but having anxiety/panic attacks instead
- When I told my doctor about my symptoms, her advice was to go out and buy a new dress or get a manicure
- When I was hospitalized and questioning things, I found that the doctors didn’t have much knowledge about menopause. They wanted me to simply be quiet and take a pill
- I have a female doctor. When I described my symptoms to her, her response was “so that’s what I have to look forward to?”. I looked at her like, really…this isn’t about YOU for crying out loud….ugh!
- Doctors think they’ve heard it all and so they brush you off….they say things like that’s normal, that’s normal shrug their shoulders and then offer anti depression pills for a quick fix
- I went to my doc a couple of days ago because I’m having really BAD anxiety with panic attacks. He wrote me a prescription for a low dose anti depressant and waved me away! He does not know jack shit about menopause!
Unfortunately, this is the norm. The majority of women are not receiving help from their doctors for their menopause symptoms. If you have found a doctor who understands menopause and is helping you, consider yourself fortunate.
Why is your doctor not helping you?
Quite frankly, it is hard to find a doctor who understands menopause. A recent survey of ob-gyn resident doctors, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that there is a lack of understanding by ob-gyn residents in matters connected with menopause.
510 resident ob-gyns, from all over the country, were surveyed. Only 100 (20%) reported that they had received formal training in their ob-gyn curriculum in regard to menopause matters and only 78 had reported that they participated in a practical menopause clinic. That means that just 15% of those being trained as ob-gyns are receiving practical training to help you with issues that you are facing during menopause. The results of this survey explains why you are finding it hard to find a doctor who understands menopause.
A positive take from this study is that approximately 70% of the participants expressed a desire to learn more about menopause, its symptoms and its treatment.
An earlier study of ob-gyn residents found that most residents did not feel comfortable managing menopause patients with 75.8% reporting feeling “barely comfortable” and 8.4% feeling “not at all comfortable.”
It is not surprising that it is hard to find a doctor who understands menopause. If ob-gyns are not being trained in menopause matters, what training can you expect an internist or general practitioner to have had about menopause?
What to look for in a doctor who can help you with menopause
- You want a doctor who has received training about menopause
- You want a doctor who has experience in helping menopausal women
- You want a doctor who listens to you and is a caring human being
1 above, may be easier to find than you may think. 2 may be a little more difficult to find than 1. Unfortunately, 3 is not taught in medical curriculums. It is a case of “suck it and see”.
How to find a doctor near you who has been trained about menopause
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has developed a menopause competency examination. All licensed healthcare providers (including doctors, nurses, and physician assistants) are eligible to sit for this examination. Those who pass this rigorous competency examination, have demonstrated their expertise in the field and are awarded the credential of NCMP, which stands for NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner.
How do you know if a physician is a menopause “expert”?
One way is to ask if he or she is a NAMS certified menopause practitioner. The credential is good for three years and they receive a certificate that they can proudly display in their office.
Another way is to search the directory of menopause healthcare providers on the NAMS site. You enter your zip code and the search results will reveal doctors in your vicinity. It is advisable to tick the box that limits the search results to NCMP practitioners, because the NAMS directory also contains details of doctors who do not have the NCMP credential.
Good luck in finding a doctor who understands menopause.