Menopausal women being prescribed ‘inappropriate’ antidepressants

Over a third of women visiting their GP with menopausal symptoms are being offered antidepressants despite the majority (80%) feeling the treatment is ‘inappropriate’ for their symptoms.

The What Women Want at Menopause survey shows that women are increasingly reluctant to visit the doctor over fears they will not receive the right advice or treatment, as choices of medication for menopause are limited.

Healthcare expert and pioneer of the Natural Menopause Movement, Maryon Stewart, carried out the survey to demonstrate the urgent need to “provide more women with better support and information about their natural, science-based options when it comes to menopause”.

Her survey also showed:

  • Nearly 40% of women reported not seeking help from their doctor to treat menopause symptoms
  • Nine out of ten women in early stages of menopause want to be offered a natural alternative to HRT
  • Nearly 40% of women experiencing perimenopause are being prescribed antidepressants to help manage their symptoms, despite four out of five describing the treatment as ‘inappropriate’.

More than 1000 UK-based women aged 42-55 years were surveyed, with the results showing only three in ten women are satisfied with the help and advice on menopause they got from their GP, while 84% of respondents say their doctor didn’t sufficiently answer their questions.

More than a third of the women reported being prescribed antidepressants for menopause – despite nearly 80% feeling the treatment was inappropriate for their symptoms. Less than half (41%) were prescribed HRT, although 14% of those didn’t take it. Of the women who did, more than half reported side effects, including constant bleeding, breast lumps, severe anxiety and a sense of being unwell. More than 90% of all respondents reported wanting advice on natural, science-based alternatives to HRT to manage their symptoms.

There are around 13m perimenopausal or menopausal women in the UK – one-third of the UK female population – 80% of whom are in full-time or part-time work. More about Maryon Stewart here.

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