The Menopause service which is based in the Mater Hospital. The clinic provides expertise for women with problems associated with the menopause and perimenopause.
Most women who require HRT can access treatment and advice from their GP. The HRT clinic provides care for women with premature ovarian insufficiency and early menopause, women with complex medical backgrounds who are suffering with symptoms associated with menopause/perimenopause, and women with complications associated with HRT.
What is menopause?
The menopause is a woman’s last menstrual period and the average age of the menopause in the UK is 51. 1 in 100 women will have a premature menopause under the age of 40. After menopause oestrogen is no longer produced by the ovaries. This contributes to the increased risk of osteoporosis related fractures in older women.
What is the perimenopause?
The perimenopause is the transition phase between having regular periods and the menopause when the ovaries stop producing any hormones. It can last for several months or even years. Periods usually become irregular, often more frequent in the first instance, and heavy bleeding is common. Symptoms can come and go as hormone levels fluctuate.
What are typical menopausal symptoms?
Not all women get symptoms. 75% of women have some symptoms but only approximately 25% have severe symptoms. Symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbance, anxiety, low mood, palpitations, headaches, poor memory and concentration, joint pains, loss of libido, and vaginal dryness.
What is the most effective treatment?
Not all women need treatment. Lifestyle modification including optimising weight, maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise can be helpful.
However, women with a premature or early menopause should take HRT up until the age of natural menopause, even if asymptomatic, for the hidden benefits of bone and heart protection.
For women with persistent troublesome symptoms HRT is the most effective treatment and the benefits outweigh the risks for the majority of women.
See links for further information.
The service is provided by a team of doctors and specialist nurses. As we are a teaching hospital doctors and nurses in training, and medical students may also be in attendance at clinics.
Appointments may be virtual via telephone call or face-to-face in the clinic. Gynaecological investigations and minor procedures are part of the service provided if necessary.
Interpreting services- We can offer telephone or face-to-face consultations for those who cannot speak English. These consultations are with an interpreter or through The Big Word telephone translation service.
You must fulfil referral criteria and live within the Belfast Trust.
We accept referrals from GPs and other hospital specialties.
Referrals are triaged according to clinical priority and waiting times can vary. Once effective treatment has been established you will be discharged back to the care of your GP.
Level 5, Dempsey Building at the Mater Hospital
Women’s Health Concern | Confidential Advice, Reassurance and Education (womens-health-concern.org)
WHC factsheets and other helpful resources – Women’s Health Concern (womens-health-concern.org)
The Menopause | Self Care Forum Fact Sheet (selfcareforum.org)
Charity for Women with POI | The Daisy Network
Menopause Matters, menopausal symptoms, remedies, advice
Rock My Menopause – Menopause Information
Royal Osteoporosis Society – Osteoporosis Charity UK (theros.org.uk)