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We're a little crazy, about science!

New tool helps Doctors treat Menopause

With the SCOTUS ruling for the Hobby Lobby case [if you have no idea what I am talking about you can read about that anywhere on the net, like here] it may seem like everyone is fighting the war against women’s care at full speed. Thankfully that isn’t the case everywhere, there are still people out there who are trying to make a difference. Introducing the world’s first toolkit is designed for GPs to use with women from the age of 40 to help them decide the best care for dealing with menopause. Thought to be the first of its kind, researchers say the toolkit has the potential to help manage menopausal conditions for women globally.

The research team from the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, combined existing research on menopause, diagnostic algorithms and extensive clinical experience to develop the diagnostic tool. Designed for use in a GP surgery, it also works through a patient’s medical history and risk factors to arrive at the best treatment solution.Researchers say the toolkit fills the void of clear guidelines on menopause diagnosis and management, equipping doctors with the fundamentals to care for any woman who walks through the door.

“There are many detailed guidelines available on menopause but the reality is that most GPs don’t have the time to work through a 40 page report when they only have 5 or 10 minutes with a patient,” Professor Davis, head researcher, said. “Based on feedback from patients and doctors we realised there’s widespread confusion, not only in how to determine when menopause starts but also prescribing appropriate treatment to help with side effects.

Menopause marks the end of the monthly cycle of menstruation and reproductive years in a woman’s life, this change comes with many different side effects. Due to hormonal changes, menopausal symptoms [which include hot flashes, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and joint pain] vary widely from none at all to debilitating, making a straightforward diagnosis difficult. Most women will reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55.

“Half the world’s population will experience menopause as some point in their lives, yet there isn’t a commonly used diagnostic tool and that’s creating confusion amongst women and doctors,” Professor Davis said. “Many people think the menopause is the same for every woman but the reality is quite different. Every woman has her own individual experience of menopause and that sometimes makes it tricky to diagnose,” she said.

The free resource includes a flow chart of standardised questions for doctors to ask, and assess women who are potentially experiencing menopause. The kit also flags safety concerns, provides a list of all hormone therapies approved by regulators in different countries and lists non-hormonal therapies that have evidence to support their use. The toolkit is designed to also help inform GPs and patients on the benefits and risks of menopausal treatment, many of which [both GP’s and patients] may have preconceived misconceptions about hormonal treatments.

The International Menopause Society (IMS) is promoting the use of the toolkit throughout the world, stating that it is the first to present structured practical advice. The IMS President, Rod Baber said the toolkit builds on formal guidelines on menopause.

“This will ensure that each individual woman is well informed about what happens to her as she ages, about what options for treatment and monitoring are available and lastly what menopausal hormone therapy options are,” said Rod Baber.

With the world seemingly divided over the question, who has the right to chose for women’s health, it’s good to know that there are people who are trying to secure a better life for women going through that point their life.

Want to read more? You can read the full study —here!

Sources
Jane, F., & Davis, S. (2014). A Practitioner’s Toolkit for Managing the Menopause Climacteric, 1-16 DOI: 10.3109/13697137.2014.929651

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