More menopause-focused education required for doctors
Despite the fact that nearly two million women every year reach menopause (that's equivalent to 6,000 women each day), many experts agree that OB/GYN residents are not being properly prepared to address menopause-related health issues. A new study published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), however, demonstrates how adding a menopause-focused curriculum is helping residents to meet this growing challenge.
The study comes out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where they created a two-year curriculum including lectures and labs focused on menopause and related health issues. Between 2011 and 2013, 34 OB/GYN residents completed the menopause curriculum annually. Prior to attending the menopause sessions, a majority of residents—78.7 percent—did not feel comfortable managing menopause patients. After the two-year curriculum, a whopping 85.7 percent reported feeling 'comfortable/very comfortable' taking care of menopause patients.
"This is a huge challenge in the medical profession," says Dr. Wulf Utian, executive director of NAMS. "There is a tremendous void in healthcare providers understanding the key issues being faced by pre-and post-menopausal women. As a result, many women are not getting the treatment they need and are suffering needlessly with an array of menopause-related symptoms. Although this was a small study sample, it provides valuable insight as to the need to provide additional menopause-focused education, and I hope that medical schools, as well as residency programs in OB/GYN, internal medicine and family practice use it as a justification to augment their current curriculums."
The article, 'Effectiveness of a 2-year menopause medicine curriculum for obstetrics and gynecology residents,' will be published in the March 2016 print edition of Menopause.