A practical toolkit to help primary care physicians diagnose and manage the menopause has been released, which could potentially revolutionise menopausal treatment.
The toolkit, created by leading women’s health researcher Professor Susan Davis and released in the International Menopause Society (IMS) journal Climacteric, is an accessible desktop tool for health-care practitioners caring for women at midlife.
Davis commented: “The menopause is something all women have to go through, but when it comes to diagnosis and treatment the healthcare sector is currently failing, on a global scale.
“Following the Women’s Health Initiative in 2010 menopause management dropped off the curricula of training programs across the globe, because the dogma has been that hormone replacement therapy is not safe. Consequently, young doctors don’t know how to diagnose or assess menopause, and more established doctors have become uncertain about management.
“Specialists are fielding questions daily from concerned doctors and patients, because primary care physicians don’t currently have the tools available to them in order to manage the condition effectively. This toolkit can change that.”
The toolkit comprises algorithms for the reasons why a woman might present her symptoms, determination of menopausal status, key information that should be ascertained and issues that may influence treatment decision-making.
It also provides a comprehensive list of hormonal therapies - including which countries they are approved in - as well as non-hormonal treatment options that have evidence to support their use.
Davis continued: “We want this toolkit to be a step-change for menopausal treatment and diagnosis. With the endorsement we’ve received from the IMS I believe it has the potential to make a real difference and benefit women across the globe.”
The toolkit has already received praise from a number of leading figures in the field.
General practitioner Dr Jane Elliott said the toolkit was clear and accessible, making it ideal to use for GP consultations: “The flow-chart should be on the computer desktop of all GPs. This will go a long way towards helping busy GPs feel that managing menopause is no longer in the ‘too hard basket’ and women will benefit as a result.”
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.”
Professor Ingrid Pinas, president of the Dutch Menopause Society, agreed with the need for the toolkit, saying:"We now have a generation of young doctors who have not been properly trained to deal with menopausal problems, and consequently women are left without counseling and treatment."
The Practitioner Toolkit for the Managing the Menopause is available to download for free from Climacteric and the algorithm is available at: http://womenshealth.med.monash.edu.au