health + wellness

10 Questions to Ask Before You Pick a Menopause Specialist

June 26, 2024

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10 Questions to Ask Before You Pick a Menopause Specialist

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You are not alone

“This is just something you have to go through.”

☝️That's exactly what my gynecologist said when I went to him for my debilitating menopause-related symptoms.

I had hot flashes, night sweats, burning tongue, inability to focus, anxiety, and rapid weight gain—the list went on.

He just prescribed antidepressants to "work on my moodiness and help me sleep." But they only caused more weight gain and did little to ease my symptoms.

The next doctor, an endocrinologist, seemed worryingly out of touch; her rhinestone-encrusted calculator didn't inspire confidence. 😳

Then, I tried a holistic health practitioner for my hot flashes, brain fog, night sweats, and lack of libido. Nothing worked, and I still felt like a total mess.

Next, a doctor told me testosterone was the key—I felt great for a few weeks after a shot before plummeting back to zero libido and lust for life.

I was losing my mind. FINALLY, I found a clinician certified in menopausal medicine.

I didn't even know this specialty existed!

It took me six doctors before I found someone educated on the latest research and felt 100% comfortable discussing all my symptoms.

She gave it to me straight, no BS, and helped me decide if Hormone Replacement Therapy was right for me and worth the (I learned, nominal) risks.

One year later, I walked back into her office, nothing like the woman she first met. I was alive again. Sure, I still had some symptoms, but they were manageable.

It took over two years to get the menopause-specific help I needed.

But the worst part? My story is SO common.

Today, I want to help you stop hopping from doctor to doctor.

#1 - Find a menopause-specific practitioner

I didn’t realize most doctors aren't trained to handle menopause.

Here are some concerning stats:

- 80% of medical residents feel “barely comfortable” discussing or treating menopause.

- 58% had received only one lecture on menopause in their training, and 20% had received no menopause training at all.

- 57% of practicing physicians were up to date on recommendations regarding hormone therapy (HT) for menopause symptoms.

Clearly, we still have a long way to go in women’s healthcare.

If you need help finding an expert, check out The Menopause Society (formerly the North American Menopause Society), which maintains a directory of doctors certified in menopausal medicine.

Warning: There might not be one in your area (there are only 2500 in the US), but there are often telehealth options, many of which are covered by insurance.

#2 - Do this Before your visit 

Once you find a practitioner, prepare for your office visit by jotting down your symptoms—whether in your journal, calendar, a note on your phone, or this nifty symptom tracker I created.

Next, gather all your medical history, both personal and family. Who had heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, dementia?

Having this information will help your provider better understand your health risks and suggest treatments aligned with your unique profile.

#3 - Be your own advocate

It can be hard to question doctors. We’re trained not to question “authority.” But even though the doctor most likely has your best interests at heart, it’s important to come into your visit armed with this checklist of questions:

  1. List of symptoms and your top three concerns
  2. Is it normal for me to feel this way?
  3. What do you recommend for treating my symptoms? Are these treatments FDA-approved? What are their benefits? What are their risks according to research?
  4. Are you comfortable talking about HT?
  5. Are there any supplements I can take? 
  6. What is the role of hormone therapy (HT) in managing menopause symptoms, and how do I decide if it's right for me?*
  7. Are there any complementary therapies, such as herbal remedies or acupuncture, that may help alleviate my menopause symptoms?
  8. How can lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, help me manage menopause symptoms?
  9. How long can I stay on HT?
  10. How does menopause affect my risk of developing osteoporosis, heart disease, and dementia?
  11. How can I protect myself from these chronic conditions?
  12. How often should I come in for check-ups and monitoring during menopause?
  13. What tests or screenings are available for menopause, such as bone density scans or mammograms?
  14. What should I expect during my menopause journey, and how can I best manage any challenges?
  15. What resources are available to help me learn more about menopause, such as support groups or educational materials?

#4 - Listen

If you hear the doctor say things like “it’s not a big deal, all women go through this,” or “I’m not comfortable with HRT,” or “it will pass,” you may want to find another practitioner.

Yes, I know it puts a lot of responsibility on you. But as a friend, I want to ensure you're ready to advocate for yourself.

You deserve to not only be “seen” but also heard by a doctor trained in perimenopause and menopause.

Need more support? Check out The Menopause Masterclass! I've gathered renowned experts to provide actions and answers to pressing questions about midlife and menopause.

Menopause doesn't have to be a total headache. There are experts who can help ease your symptoms and calm your mind. You just need to know where to look and what to ask!

The more we talk about menopause, the easier it will be to change the medical narrative and ensure everyone gets the support they need.

Did you know I’m writing a book all about menopause? Click here to get on the waiting list. I have more news coming soon!

To feeling amazing, 

Tamsen

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