Over 40s should be offered NHS menopause checks, MPs say

MPs say menopause checks should be given as part of NHS health checks

The Menopause All-Party Parliamentary Group have said that  ‘menopause checks’ should be offered as part of the NHS health check provided to over 40s every five years.

MPs said many women over 40 approach their general practitioner (GP) with symptoms not realising they are experiencing menopause. They added that healthcare professionals often fail to recognise these symptoms themselves.

The group proposed providing menopause support in addition to existing checks for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

MP Carolyn Harris, the group’s chairwoman, said: ‘We still have many hurdles to tackle to ensure women suffering through menopause get the support they deserve.

‘Day in, day out, I hear stories from women who can’t get a diagnosis from their GP, who can’t get hormone replacement therapy (HRT) due to a lack of supply, who have left their jobs due to a lack of support, or who simply don’t know where to turn for help.’

The group wants healthcare professionals to feel ‘equipped and empowered’ to prescribe hormone replacement therapy, which alleviates menopause symptoms.

Mariella Frostup, chair of the Menopause Mandate campaign, discussed the ‘ludicrous’ lack of attention to menopause with BBC Breakfast.

She said: ‘It seems utterly ludicrous you go to this health check as a woman in your early 40s, which is exactly when perimenopause starts for most women, and the one thing you don’t find out about is the one thing that you will absolutely 100% be experiencing over the subsequent decade.’

‘Break the stigma’

This comes as a survey has revealed that 84% of women over the age of 50 are unaware of the oral health impacts of menopause.

Of around 1,000 respondents to Delta Dental’s Senior Oral Health and Menopause Report, 70% were experiencing oral symptoms they did not realise were related to menopause.

The study also explored conversations around menopause between dental professionals and patients. Only 2% of participants had asked their dentist about menopause, and 1% had asked their dental hygienist.

Additionally, more than a quarter (27%) felt that they couldn’t find any information about these concerns.

Daniel Croley, chief dental officer at Delta Dental, emphasised the importance of all healthcare professionals supporting patients with menopause.

He said: ‘As medical professionals, we have a responsibility to ensure our patients are receiving the holistic health care and support they deserve – not only oral health, but whole person health as well. We can help ease the burden and break the stigma by creating space for these conversations.’

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