Thoughts and advice on caring for women diagnosed with early menopause: Health Practitioners’ perspectives

Health practitioners offered their reflections and advice on caring for women diagnosed with early menopause (EM). They spoke about both the positive and challenging aspects of caring for women, and shared some advice for other health practitioners.

Thoughts on caring for women diagnosed with EM

A few health practitioners noted that because of the significant personal and emotional impacts of EM on women, (see Personal and emotional impact of early menopause on women) as well as the symptoms (see Symptoms of early menopause) and long-term health impacts (Long-term health effects of early menopause), such as osteoporosis, EM can be a complex area of healthcare.

Dr W, an endocrinologist, shared her thoughts on the complexities of caring for women diagnosed with EM.

Medical oncologist Dr Richardson described the challenges of caring for women experiencing EM following cancer treatment.

Advice to other health practitioners

In relation to caring for women experiencing symptoms of spontaneous EM or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), health practitioners noted that it was important to conduct tests over a period of time and consult with colleagues because diagnosing EM can be complex and can take time (see Tests and challenges in the diagnosis of spontaneous early menopause).

Obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Baber advised others to ensure that the diagnosis of spontaneous EM or POI is not ‘missed’.

The importance of considering the broader personal and emotional impacts of EM on women (see Personal and emotional impact of early menopause on women) was noted by several health practitioners. In addition, when having conversations with women about how manage EM symptoms (see Symptoms of early menopause), health practitioners recommended a non-judgemental approach, for example in relation to complementary medicines and alternative therapies (see Complementary medicines and alternative therapies for early menopause), to help women make informed decisions.

Dr Ee, a general practitioner, advised other health practitioners to take into account the individual significance of EM for women and be non-judgemental.

General practitioner Dr Goeltom emphasised that it was important to give women sufficient information and make them feel heard.

Some health practitioners advised others to have conversations with women about relationships and fertility (see Fertility and early menopause). Breast care nurse Ms Hay explained that younger women and couples often have plans to have children and therefore ‘it’s really important that [health practitioners] take the initiative to open that door and give that opportunity for that discussion.’

A few health practitioners commented that discussions on fertility could be difficult with adolescents experiencing EM, however as Dr D, an endocrinologist, said: ‘you do need to just plant the seed that fertility will be looked at along the way.’

Dr K, a fertility specialist, offered her thoughts on discussing fertility options with women diagnosed with EM.

For women experiencing EM symptoms (see Symptoms of early menopause) after, during or following cancer treatment, a few health practitioners recommended being attentive to women’s concerns, and find ways to help them manage the symptoms (see Non-hormone based medications for early menopause symptoms after oestrogen-sensitive cancers).

Ms Lewis, a breast care nurse, offered some advice on caring for women experiencing menopausal symptoms as a result of ovarian suppression therapy.

Further information

Talking Points (Health Practitioners)

Talking Points (Women)

Other resources