A new menopause service has opened in South Wales to address a lack of provision for women.

Your Menopause Doctor in Cardiff and Penarth has been founded by menopause specialist Dr Jayne Forrester-Paton to increase women’s access to accurate advice, support and information at a pivotal stage of their lives.

Dr Forrester-Paton, of Penarth, believes a lack of awareness, education and funding for menopause care has led to women struggling with often debilitating symptoms, getting misdiagnosed and even incorrectly refused appropriate treatment.

“Unfortunately, women can struggle to access accurate advice, support and treatment when they need it most. There can be a lack of recognition of the symptoms of the menopause and a fear of prescribing HRT. Too often, women are misdiagnosed or refused treatment for the wrong reasons,” commented Dr Forrester-Paton, who trained as a GP and holds the advanced certification from the British Menopause Society, the highest level of menopause training available.

She continued: “Part of this is a lack of education and awareness about the menopause and its impact on women. There isn’t enough recognition of the wide range of menopausal symptoms. A woman can experience everything from hot flushes and night sweats to weight gain, vaginal dryness, anxiety, brain fog, low mood, and even suicidal thoughts. Everyone’s experience will be different and the symptoms can creep up gradually and it can take time to recognise what is happening.

“Too often, women are offered anti-depressants which won’t treat the route cause, or they may have many appointments about their symptoms without getting the answers they need. Some women are told they are too young to be in the perimenopause or too old or their medical history too complex to have treatment. In some cases, HRT may have been prescribed but it might be the wrong dosage or type for that individual. We need to do things better. When a woman has the right support, evidence-based information and advice specific to them, it can be transformational.”

After realising the extent of the issues, Dr Forrester-Paton was inspired to take on additional menopause training and set up an innovative NHS menopause service. However, despite being recognised as successful and incredibly popular with patients, the service ended due to lack of ongoing funding. Dr Forrester-Paton now works for Aneurin Bevan’s well-respected NHS menopause service and, recognising the gap in specialist menopause services locally, has also now set up the Your Menopause Doctor clinic.

Dr Forrester-Paton, who is a cofounder of the not-for-profit organisation Wales Menopause Network, commented: “Everyone should have access to NHS menopause care but, in its absence, there needs to be someone to go to for help and advice. There is a huge need for menopause support and I felt compelled to address this and help people who have not been listened to or who aren’t being taken seriously. As a professional and a woman, I want a better deal for women.”

Your Menopause Doctor provides personal and holistic care to support women through perimenopause and menopause, with support, advice and evidence-based treatment without the need for a referral. Consultations take place in Your Menopause Doctor’s Penarth or Cardiff clinic with virtual appointments via telephone or video also available.

For more details, visit www.yourmenopausedoctor.co.uk