3 tips for finding a healthcare professional specialized in menopause

3 tips for finding a healthcare professional specialized in menopause

Every year, more than 1 million people with a uterus in the US go through menopause. And, while it’s a transition that affects so many, it’s not always easy. Some will have no symptoms at all during the years leading up to their last period and beyond. But others will need help managing their perimenopause and menopause symptoms, said Octavia Cannon, DO, a osteopathic OB-GYN in East Lansing, Michigan.

“It’s an individual choice,” Cannon said. “But if your symptoms are severe and affecting your daily activities and quality of life, then I think a specialist is absolutely necessary and important.”

A menopause specialist can help people who are struggling with symptoms find answers and relief. If you want to be treated by a menopause specialist, here’s how.

3 tips for finding a menopause specialist

1. Get personal

As you prepare for your research, think about your personal preferences. For example, do you want an approach to menopause care that relies on complementary therapies such as acupuncture? “Look for someone whose practice aligns with the things you want,” Cannon said. She suggests visiting the provider’s website to find out what they do and what they believe.

You will also need to consider your financial needs. Which providers are in your insurance network? Will telehealth visits be covered? Knowing what costs will be upfront and understanding what you can afford can help you narrow your search.

2. Apply for certification

THE North American Menopause Society (NAMS)a non-profit organization that promotes women’s health through understanding menopause and aging, offers a searchable directory of providers specializing in menopause care. All of these providers are NAMS members and/or NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioners (NCMP), which means they have passed an exam to demonstrate their expertise in the field.

Using the directory is easy – simply enter your postcode to view a list of menopause specialists near you.

Don’t worry if your search in the NAMS directory comes up empty. Providers that are in your state but not nearby may be an option if they offer telehealth, she said Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, medical director of NAMS and director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health. And some menopause specialists are licensed in more than one state, so they can take care of you through telehealth even if they’re in a different part of the country.

“For example, at Mayo Clinic, most providers are licensed in two or three or more states

so that we can see women in other states via video visit for menopause consultations,” Faubion said.

3. Seek expertise and compassion

Besides certification, what should you look for in a menopause specialist? Both Faubion and Cannon said finding someone who will listen to you should be a top priority.

“You want someone who takes your symptoms seriously,” Faubion said. “If they seem educated in menopause management and offer you different options (hormonal and non-hormonal)…that’s what you’re looking for too.”

“When meeting with a potential supplier, ask yourself if they’ll give you what you need,” Cannon advised. If the answer is yes, it is likely that you have found the right menopause specialist for you.

Even if you see a primary care provider or ob-gyn on a regular basis, a specialist menopause specialist can provide an expert level of care tailored to meet your specific needs.

This resource was created with support from Astellas.

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