Mr Haitham Hamoda is a consultant gynaecologist at King’s, and leads our menopause service here at the Trust. He is also Chairman of the British Menopause Society.
To mark World Menopause Day, Mr Hamoda (pictured) shared his views on the importance of sharing clear and accurate information about the menopause – and providing women with the support and treatment they need.
Why is it important to raise awareness of the menopause?
Menopausal symptoms are common and affect more than 75% of women. Whilst most women attribute hot flushes and night sweats to the menopause, many do not associate other symptoms such as tiredness, low mood, anxiety, poor memory and concentration or sensation of ‘brain fog’ to the menopause. As a result, many women may fail to understand why they are experiencing such symptoms leading them to suffer in silence and not seek advice.
Does misinformation about the menopause make it harder for women to gain appropriate advice?
Whilst women can access much information on the internet and social media, there is also plenty of misinformation. Women should be able to seek accurate advice on how to best manage their menopause.
Women should be offered advice regarding lifestyle and diet modifications such as exercise, optimising weight, reducing alcohol as well as the advantages and disadvantages of their management options including HRT.
For most women HRT has a favourable benefit/risk profile with benefits including symptom control and improving quality of life as well as considering the bone and cardiovascular benefits associated with HRT use.
What are the main challenges that menopause care provision faces?
There has been plenty of negativity around the menopause and emphasis on the negative aspects of HRT with little reference to the impact the menopause may have on women’s quality of life.
The importance of applying a holistic and individualised approach in managing women going through the menopause transition - including the role of HRT and its benefits - were recognised in the NICE guidance in 2015, as well as other guidance documents including the British Menopause Society. This has gradually led to a more positive approach to managing the menopause.
What does the future hold for menopause care?
I think there is a need to raise awareness about the menopause among healthcare professionals across the board. Work is also ongoing nationally to raise menopause awareness in the workplace including among managers and staff.
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