The Doctor will see you now: Dr Juliet Balfour answers your questions
Dr Juliet Balfour heads up one of the UK’s leading menopause clinics. Join Dr Balfour at an upcoming free Q&A webinar, on 4th February, and ask all your menopause questions.
To get started, Juliet has answered some of your common questions below.
Q1. My libido is non-existent, is there anything I can do to get it back?
Your sex drive depends on many factors, one of which is hormones. It is important to recognise that you are in the majority, not the minority – 65% of postmenopausal women infrequently or never feel sexual desire, even though 75% of women expressed that their sex lives were important to them.
Discomfort or vaginal pain is one of the more common symptoms of the menopause-related loss of libido. Vaginal oestrogens and vaginal moisturisers and lubricants (such as Sylk) are incredibly effective at overcoming this.
Systemic HRT can often improve libido. Once on a suitable dose of oestrogen (and progesterone if you have a uterus), testosterone replacement can also be considered.
There are many more considerations, in particular around mood and stress, which evidence tells us will significantly impact our sex drives.
To learn more visit: Genitourinary symptoms of the menopause
Q2. What are the treatment options for menopause, my GP did not want to prescribe me HRT?
The most common and effective treatment for menopause is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). There are a vast variety of HRT options, and often women need to amend their prescription after an initial trial period, as they learn how their body reacts.
At Bia Care, we often see women who have previously been refused HRT or even have been using HRT without the full desired effects. This is partly because GPs are not usually menopause specialists and may be reluctant to prescribe medication that they do not have the specialist training to support.
As a Menopause Specialist GP, I know that with a high level of assessment and support, we can find the right treatment for almost everyone. For some women this may be HRT, for others, it may be local oestrogen.
To find out more about how Bia Care works, visit: How we work
Q3. How long do the symptoms of the menopause last, when will it stop?!
We typically start noticing symptoms around perimenopause, which usually occurs in our 40s. It’s the time when signs and symptoms of falling oestrogen levels start to manifest – like irregular periods or hot flushes. For over half of women, the perimenopause stage lasts for over 7 years, it officially ends when you have gone 12 months without a menstrual period.
The post-menopause begins 12 months after the last menstrual period. Some of the symptoms experienced in the perimenopause phase will persist if not treated.
You do not need to endure the symptoms of perimenopause or post-menopause, as most symptoms are entirely treatable.
As well as improving your symptoms, taking HRT long-term can improve your future health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases.
If you have any questions for Dr Balfour, submit these to email@example.com , and we will get back to you. Or else please sign up for Dr Balfour’s free Q&A webinar to join the live session.