Melbourne: To fill the void of clear guidelines on menopause diagnosis and management and equip doctors with the fundamentals to care for any woman, researchers have developed a toolkit that has the potential to help manage menopausal conditions for women globally.

The Practitioner Toolkit for Managing the Menopause includes a diagnostic tool, as well as a compendium of approved hormone therapies. Led by professor Susan Davis at Monash University in Australia, the research team combined existing research on menopause, diagnostic algorithms and extensive clinical experience to develop the diagnostic tool.

It also works through a patient’s medical history and risk factors to arrive at the best treatment solution.

The free resource includes a flow chart of standardised questions for doctors to ask, and assess women who are potentially experiencing menopause. The kit also flags safety concerns, provides a list of all hormone therapies approved by regulators in different countries and lists non-hormonal therapies that have evidence to support their use.

Photo boxes of natural hormones used to treat menopause. AFP

The toolkit would also help inform general practitioners and patients on the benefits and risks of menopausal treatment.

“Hormone therapy is commonly prescribed to women, but its success varies according to symptom type and severity, personal circumstances and medical background,” Davis said. “This toolkit has the potential to change that because it is designed to work just as well for a 41 year old woman in Madras (Chennai) as it will for the 48 year old in Manhattan,” Davis added.

Menopause marks the end of the monthly cycle of menstruation and reproductive years in a woman’s life. Due to hormonal changes, menopausal symptoms, which include hot flushes, anxiety and depression and joint pain, vary widely from none at all to debilitating, making a straightforward diagnosis difficult, Davis said.

The findings appeared in the journal Climacteric.

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