A doctor at one of Ireland’s leading women’s health clinics claims women are being given short shrift from some GPs when it comes to treating menopausal symptoms
Fatigue, lack of sleep, depression, brain fog, anxiety – these are just some of the issues that women are presenting with in GP offices around the country.
However, due to their age or ‘time in life’, many of them are being told not to worry and that it will ‘pass in a few years’. Others are receiving prescriptions for anti-depressants rather than specific treatment of their pain and discomfort.
Dr Talisa Chennells treats women from all over Ireland for symptoms linked to the so-called change of life at the Menopause Hub in Dublin and despairs at the ‘old-fashioned attitude’ of so many general practitioners.
“Women struggling with menopausal symptoms do not need to suffer in silence anymore,’ she said. “There are a number of treatment options available to them, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT), non-hormonal medicines, herbal treatments, and psychological counselling.”
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Dr Chennells revealed that some of her former colleagues in general practice remain suspicious of HRT – despite recent research showing that it can safely be prescribed to suitable patients.
“A lot of the women I see say their family doctor was reluctant to give them HRT,” said Dr Chennells. “They’re told their symptoms won’t last, that HRT can cause problems, and that they should just ‘grin and bear it’ until the menopause passes.”
“That is such an old fashioned attitude,” she added. “Women struggling with menopausal symptoms do not need to suffer in silence anymore.”
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions around HRT which is why many doctors don’t prescribe it. And while Dr Chennells admits that it’s not suitable for everyone – breast cancer patients, for example – she is adamant that for most, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Menopause treatment in Ireland
Dr Chennells moved from her native South Africa to Dublin to join the multi-disciplinary team at the Menopause Hub – Ireland’s first-ever clinic solely devoted to helping menopausal women overcome symptoms – because she is passionate about women’s health.
She also believes that not enough women are seeking help in their early-to-mid forties when perimenopausal symptoms start to appear.
The Menopause Hub has two treatment centres – one in Mount Merrion and one in Santry, where Dr Chennells is based. Last month, the clinic announced plans to open a third centre in Cork city due to overwhelming demand.
“If you’re concerned that your doctor is not really listening to you, then please get in touch,” Dr Chennels says.
Click here to read about the lesser known symptoms of perimenopause or pick up the latest edition of Irish Country Magazine to read a deep dive on what exactly it is, how to help with symptoms and what more needs to be done in Irish workplaces in our #TheInvisibleStruggle series.