Unfortunately, given that menopause affects women and people in gender transition, it’s been largely ignored by mainstream medicine. So doctors receive little to no training specific to the issues of menopause and post-menopause health. This is improving, but the effects of better training are only beginning to be felt and may not have trickled out to your area yet. That's why we recommend you work with a menopause specialist.

Do I really need a menopause doctor specialist?

Yes. Just as you need a specialized doctor for pregnancy and childbirth, you really need a specialized doctor for menopause.

The body changes that come with this time in a person’s life are profound and systemic — because we have estrogen receptors virtually everywhere in our bodies, when that estrogen dips, flows, and recedes, the impacts are felt everywhere.

So, it’s possible your doctor may not know a lot about menopause. According to the CT Mirror, “One recent survey of obstetrics/gynecology residents found that fewer than one in five polled reported receiving any formal training in the topic.” And those are OB/GYN residents! Now imagine how much training your GP has probably had.

This lack of expertise, coupled with the still-pervasive misinformation from the Women’s Health Initiative on the safety of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), means many women just aren’t getting the treatment they need and deserve. Doctors who specialize in menopause are still a bit like unicorns, so you may need to search a bit to find one.

What is a menopause specialist?

While the designation “menopause specialist” isn’t recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, there are ways to tell if your doctor has a good understanding of menopause care. We encourage anyone needing medical help with menopause symptoms to interview doctors; anyone can call themselves a “menopause specialist” — be sure yours really is one.

NAMS, or the North American Menopause Society, is the largest non-profit organization devoted specifically to the health of women in midlife and beyond. Their membership is made up of experts in the field, in medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, epidemiology, and so on.

NAMS offers a training and certification that is generally considered to be excellent and reliable, so if your doctor is an NCMP (NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner), you can rest assured they have had quality training. If your doctor is not an NCMP, that doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified to deal with menopause issues; you may just want to conduct a bit of your own research.

Questions for your ob/gyn or physician:

  1. Are you certified by the North American Menopause Society?
  2. What percentage of your practice is with women in midlife and menopause?
  3. What is your position on hormone replacement and why?
  4. What lifestyle changes do you recommend, if any, and why?
  5. How do you treat those in menopause and perimenopause differently than premenopausal patients?
  6. What kinds of problems and outcomes have you seen for women dealing with menopause issues?
  7. On average, how much time do you spend with these patients during a visit?
  8. What society recommendations do you follow when providing menopause care? (The North American Menopause Society or NAMS is a good answer. ACOG or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is another.)
  9. Are you willing to earn an NCMP designation? Why or why not?

Finally, listen to your gut. When dealing with such personal, sensitive issues, you want a doctor you feel comfortable with. You may need to be very open about your sex life, your intimate areas, and things we’ve been culturally conditioned to be embarrassed about (periods, hot flashes, aging, libido). Docs, and particularly OB/GYNs, are ready to talk frankly — you need to be too.

How do I find a menopause focused doctor near me?

Sadly, there probably isn’t one physically near you. The number of OB/GYNs in most industrial nations is declining. We’re already facing a shortage in the US, and we’re losing more to retirement than we’re gaining from medical schools.

And since menopause management doctors are already thin on the ground, those in need of menopause treatment are already finding it difficult to locate the care they need. Searching on “menopause specialist near me” isn’t likely to find you much.

Fortunately, there are resources. A great way to start is by using the “Find a Menopause Practitioner” feature on the NAMS website. All the doctors listed are NAMS members, and those certified by NAMS are designated as such.

Another tool? Each other. If you’re looking for a great doc, ask your friends; if you have one, share!

If there isn’t a menopause-focused doctor in your area, you’re not out of luck. The rapid growth of telemedicine during COVID has made it possible for women to access great menopause care, anywhere their internet connection reaches. Gennev offers [telemedicine access ](https://gennev.com/plans)to menopause specialists. Our team of gynecologists serve patients in all 50 states, so you are assured to find a licensed, experience and often-times NAMs-certified practitioner at the click of a button. You can learn more about Gennev's team of menopause specialists here .

Menopause care via telemedicine

No menopause specialist in your area? No worries! Technology is filling the gap for many women.

For many of us, prior to COVID, the idea of seeing a doctor virtually was nearly unimaginable. How can they diagnose us via a camera?

It’s very possible, says our own Chief Medical Officer, NCMP and gynecologist Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su. In fact, she says, most menopause care is based around a conversation between patient and practitioner, and this may actually be better via telemedicine.

“When it’s a telemedicine appointment, I generally have lots of information before we even start talking. That means I have the basics and can jump right into the problem/solution part of the conversation,” says Dr. Dunsmoor-Su. “Often women don’t know what’s going on with them, so by asking questions, I can help them figure out where they are in their menopause journey and what treatment options they have. At Gennev, we’re open to any treatment that shows promise and is medically proven to be safe. All women are different and every menopause journey is unique, so we want to be sure women have access to every possible option.”

And because Gennev has a wide network of menopause focused doctors, if a patient needs to be seen in person, Gennev’s telemedicine doctors can make referrals and help women prepare for their appointments.

COVID revealed a need for more telemedicine access, and Gennev took advantage of modified requirements to bring more states on board and staff them with doctors who specialize in menopause. “Prior to COVID, each state had different requirements for a doctor to practice in their state via telemedcine,” says Gennev CEO Jill Angelo. “COVID proved that some states were lagging behind due to unnecessary barriers. Thanks to a reduction in barriers, we’re now able to provide a truly qualified menopause practitioner in every state in the US.”

Find a menopause specialist

Don’t wait until menopause symptoms make your life difficult. If you’re a woman, it’s never too soon or too late to get informed.

If you’re premenopausal, a doctor or menopause-trained health coach can help you understand how to take care of yourself now to feel great and avoid problems in the future. If you’re in perimenopause or if you’re post-menopausal, get the help you need to relieve symptoms and protect your bones, brain, heart, soul, and body for the many years of vibrant life yet to come.

 

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