Early in 2018 I collected information about the menopause experiences of CWA NSW members. In November 2018 the survey results were presented to the their Executive Committee meeting in Sydney. View a video of the presentation slideshow at the end of this article.
The statistics were very consistent with current research about the prevalence of significant, untreated menopause symptoms. For example, a study1 in 2013/14 estimated that there were around 385,000 Australian women with moderate to severe hot flushes who were not on effective treatment. Almost all the women who responded to my survey reported having menopausal symptoms at some time, placing them amongst the 80% of Australian women who do. 50% of survey respondents were aged 45-60, which is the typical age of onset for these symptoms.
In response to the question “How severely do/ did your symptoms impact on your ability to function in your daily life?” 35% of respondents answered “moderately” and over 40% answered “quite a lot”, “severely” or “very severely”. Sadly, even though three-quarters of women sought treatment for their symptoms almost 40% replied that they were “not very satisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with their treatment.
CWA ladies were generous with personal information about their menopausal experiences. Here are just a few examples of comments I received:
“GPs I consulted in my small regional town don’t have sufficient experience to assist patients explore the widest range of treatment.”
“…there are so many stories about HRT impacts that I am not confident its the right thing to take.”
“Overall, it is a roller coaster. Sometimes I feel fine and other times I feel exhausted, aching all over, irritable, forgetful and sexually inept. I haven’t enjoyed the experience to date. Dr’s have been no help and all my friends won’t speak about it or if they do ‘it’s all fine, no issues’… I desperately need to talk to someone and I just don’t know where to go.”
“I was referred to a specialist which meant another 120km trip but the outcome was very satisfactory.”
“It is something women are suppose to put up with. Male GP’s are not really supportive of treatment options so you do not feel like discussing problems with them.”
“While I was eventually very satisfied with the treatment regime I was given, it was very hard work finding a medical professional who had an in depth knowledge of menopause and an interest in tailoring a treatment for a specific patient.”
Surveys of this kind will always strongly represent the opinions of those with something they want to say; this is known as “self-selection bias”. That said, your responses still clearly demonstrate that many Australian women are struggling to find relief for their menopause symptoms despite the availability of safe, effective treatment options. That is why I’ve developed WellFemme Women’s Health Services: to provide these women with accessible menopause treatment and advice via Telehealth.
I’d like to thank the many women who contributed to this survey, especially those of you suffering with dreadful symptoms and limited treatment options.
If you can’t find a doctor who is confident in advising about menopause symptom treatment then book a Telehealth consultation with an expert WellFemme menopause doctor.