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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 15:27 GMT
Women 'fail to spot menopause'
Women wait up to three years before seeing their GP
Women wait up to three years before seeing their GP
More than half of women cope with the symptoms of the menopause for at least a year before without realising it, a survey has found.

One in four fail to recognise the symptoms of the menopause for up to three years, according to a survey by The Choices Campaign, run by the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Aware Group.

Just under half of the women questioned had waited more than a year before going to their GP - a third had not been to see their at all.

But by turning a blind eye to menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes and loss of libido, women are at risk of conditions such as osteoporosis, high cholesterol and even Alzheimer's disease that are associated with the loss of female hormone production, doctors warn.


It is a sad indictment that women are afraid to see their doctor over something as important as the menopause.

Dr Annie Evans, Bristol Royal Infirmary
Almost three quarters of women complained about uncomfortable menopause symptoms yet nearly one in three never asks for help or seeks advice.

The survey found that even when women do finally decide to make an appointment, one in 10 cancels it because they are concerned about wasting the doctor's time.

Concern

Dr Annie Evans, women's health specialist at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, said: "Doctors should treat the menopause seriously and women must not be afraid to make an appointment to come and see us about it.

"Only then will they be able to make a fully informed choice about the best way for them to manage the menopause and maximise their long-term health through options such as HRT."

She added: "These are worrying statistics and it is a sad indictment that women are afraid to see their doctor over something as important as the menopause.

"This is a significant stage in a woman's life. The short-term symptoms of the menopause can cause great discomfort and be very difficult to cope with.

"The long-term risks from not managing the menopause can also have a devastating effect on a woman's life - one in six women will eventually die as a result of an osteoporosis-related hip fracture.

Periods confusion

Peter Bowen-Simpkins, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told BBC News Online it was true many women failed to recognise the menopause.

"The main problem is that women may get menopausal symptoms before they stop menstruating.

"Many women associate the symptoms of the menopause, which can include mood changes, depression, poor concentration and loss of libido, with after they have stopped their periods."

He said GPs also failed to spot menopausal symptoms for the same reasons.

Mr Bowen-Simpkins said, for both women and doctors "education is the most important thing."

See also:

23 Dec 01 | Health
Doubt cast on soya for menopause
30 Nov 00 | Health
Premature menopause 'gene found'
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