By 2030, the world population of menopausal and postmenopausal women is projected to increase to 1.2 billion, with 47 million new entrants each year crying for a change in today’s medical landscape.
Menopause is not something suffered in silence anymore but still, the chances to find the right gynaecologist or health care provider are still very challenging.
When proper education about menopause is lacking and chances to reach out to the right expert at the right time are difficult, it’s not surprising why middle age women are getting the answers they want in alternative ways.
Telehealth services for menopause are one of those. They fill a medical care need that in-person doctors can’t always provide, especially for people who don’t have access to a physician who specializes in relieving menopausal symptoms.
Giving middle-aged women more access to services and information, telemedicine makes treatment more accessible than ever before to help them take care of themselves, putting the spotlight on the supports available, and raising menopause awareness.
Basically, by eliminating some of the barriers to menopause care that women might experience while navigating their next chapters, telehealth services give them the freedom to evaluate which professionals are actually a good fit, providing women in middle age more access to health expertise, education and support during menopause. And maybe help them to navigate their midlife crisis.
What’s more, the remote nature of telehealth cultivates an opening where it feels safe to be authentic and candid, allowing patients to share their personal concerns and physicians to share guidance for symptom management.
As reported by Los Angeles Business Journal, services may range from 24/7 access to physicians via messaging, to online spaces to connect with other women via social platforms.
With a few clicks or a quick phone call via your smartphone, tablet or computer, these platforms allow you to easily schedule a telehealth appointment and even schedule follow-up visits to monitor treatment without ever leaving your home, a great way to support patients who are going through new and frequent symptoms of menopause.
But do telemedicine services actually work?
“Telehealth is a great way to extend care”, says Dr Lisa Larkin a member of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Board of Trustees. “Among other things, it allows us to reach women in menopause in underserved areas where there is a paucity of certified menopause specialists. That’s not to say, however, that all telehealth services are the same and that they can completely replace a face-to-face visit.”
According to Dr Larkin, a telehealth visit with a healthcare professional with whom a patient has an existing relationship is a great way to augment care “because that professional already has the patient’s health history and data to make an informed diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment“.
But she also cautions that telemedicine care on its own with a professional who has no history can result in misdiagnoses.
“Although menopause is ideally suited for telemedicine because women can easily communicate their symptoms and concerns, there are times when a physical examination is still necessary“, she explained.
One thing is for sure, telemedicine services are helping to deconstruct the “negative” narrative about menopause that many middle age women have internalized by destigmatising this rite of passage.