We have warned many times that hundreds of thousands of patients were wrongly prescribed antidepressants by GP’s.
Now the Daily Express newspaper has highlighted the problem and featured a letter sent by Menopause Support founder, Diane Danzebrink to the Royal College of GPs.
According to the Express, the Royal College has insisted menopause was already included in their curriculum, insisting: “Mandatory training courses for some conditions and not others would be unworkable.”
But Diane Danzebrink, founder of Menopause Support UK, said any suggestion the current teaching was adequate “simply doesn’t make sense”.
In a letter to Royal College chairman Professor Martin Marshall, she said: “Menopause may be included in the curriculum but it is very clear from the dreadful experiences of many thousands of women that simply being part of the curriculum is not sufficient.
“We are concerned that your comments may come across as insulting to many women who are being poorly treated, as well as to your GP colleagues.
“We are told by women on a daily basis that their GPs fail to diagnose menopause and diagnose what turn out to be psychological and cognitive symptoms of menopause as anxiety and depression, and offer antidepressants. We also hear of women visiting their GP multiple times, sometimes over a period of years, to try to relieve a multitude of symptoms associated with menopause which are simply not recognised.”
Many women going through the change do not experience the tell-tale signs, such as hot flushes and night sweats. Instead, they can suffer a wide range of subtler symptoms, including anxiety and mood swings.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines state that hormone replacement therapy is the primary treatment for menopausal women.
But Ms Danzebrink, who provides menopause counselling to 12,500 women, said GPs too often mistake a hormonal imbalance for a mental health problem.
She has also written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock expressing her concerns.
The Express story highlights the case of Nicola Harvey, who visited her GP five years ago after developing symptoms that left her “barely able to function”.
She was plagued by night sweats and insomnia and diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression.
Nicola, 49, said: “In 2015 I asked my GP if insomnia and night sweats could be menopause but was dismissed as being too young, despite having a hysterectomy two years before.”
Nicola, of Monmouthshire in Wales, was forced to leave her job as an international IT director.
Kate Duffy visited her GP seven years ago after noticing “drastic changes” in her mood. She suffered from emotional outbursts, insomina, crippling anxiety and continuous bouts of cystitis and hair loss.
Kate, 52, told the Express: “I was instantly diagnosed with depression. Doctors appointments, time and money was wasted on numerous antidepressants I could not tolerate.”
Kate, who lives in Oxford, waited three years before finally being told her symptoms were a result of the menopause.
She added: “The effect on my home life was debilitating.”