Dentist diagnoses woman with menopause after years of being ignored by doctors

On Monday 13 June, a group of celebrity campaigners, MPs and doctors, known as the Menopause Mandate, met in parliament to testify about the struggles they’ve faced attempting to receive a diagnosis of and treatment for menopause symptoms. They called on GPs and healthcare workers to be better educated on how to spot and diagnose perimenopause and menopause and prescribe appropriate treatments.

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A woman named as Lucinda joined the group and was interviewed by model Penny Lancaster, who shared her experience of the menopause. Having experienced menopausal symptoms from the age of 41, Lucinda said it took nine years to get a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescription and, following years of being ignored by doctors, she only reached a menopause diagnosis after a trip to the dentist.

‘After about three and a half years I did find out it was perimenopause,’ Lucinda said. ‘I went to the dentist who told me that my gum disease was related to falling levels of oestrogen. I had been to the doctor about eight times by then.’

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The dentist told Lucinda that gum disease was very common for middle-aged women, and that it was a sign they were perimenopausal. She had also experienced night sweats, brain fog, bowel problems, ear infections and other unexplained illnesses, none of which prompted appropriate action by her GP, despite the several appointments she made.

It’s because of stories like this that GP Dr Juliet Balfour, part of the Menopause Mandate, says more specialist doctors and clinics are needed.

‘We can’t expect GPs to know everything,’ she said, ‘but we want every GP to have basic knowledge so they can signpost to someone else in the practice who has got a bit more specialist knowledge and then they can ask a medical specialist if they’ve got further queries. Every practice should have a designated ‘menopause champion’.’

READ MORE: What every woman should ask her GP about the menopause