Every year, more than 1 million people with a uterus in the United States go through menopause. And, although it’s a transition that affects so many, it’s not always an easy one. Some will have no symptoms at all during the years leading up their last period and beyond. But others will need help managing their perimenopause and menopause symptoms, said Octavia Cannon, D.O., an osteopathic OB-GYN in East Lansing, Michigan.
“It’s an individual choice,” Cannon said. “But if your symptoms are severe and affecting your activities of daily living and your quality of life, then I think a specialist is completely necessary and important.”
A menopause specialist can help people who are struggling with symptoms find answers — and relief. If you’d like to seek care from a menopause specialist, here’s how.
3 tips for finding a menopause specialist
As you prepare to search, think about your personal preferences. For example, do you want an approach to menopause care that builds in complementary therapies such as acupuncture? “Look for someone whose practice aligns with the things that you desire,” Cannon said. She suggests going to the provider’s website to find out what they do and what they believe.
You’ll also want to consider your financial needs. Which providers are in your insurance network? Will telehealth visits be covered? Knowing what costs will be upfront and figuring out what you can afford can help you narrow your search.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), a nonprofit that promotes women’s health through an understanding of menopause and aging, offers a searchable directory of providers who specialize in menopause care. All of these providers are NAMS members and/or NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioners (NCMPs), meaning they have passed an exam to show their expertise in the field.
Using the directory is easy — simply enter your ZIP code to pull up a list of menopause specialists near you.
Don’t worry if your search of the NAMS directory comes up empty. Providers who are in your state but are not close by may be an option if they offer telemedicine, said Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D., medical director for NAMS and a director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health. And some menopause specialists are licensed in more than one state, so they can care for you through telehealth even if they are in a different part of the country.
“For example, at Mayo Clinic, most providers are licensed in two or three or more states
so that we can see women in other states by video visit for menopause consultations,” Faubion said.
In addition to certification, what should you look for in a menopause specialist? Both Faubion and Cannon said finding someone who will listen to you should be a top priority.
“You want someone who will take your symptoms seriously,” Faubion said. “If they seem to be educated in menopause management and provide you with different [hormonal and non-hormonal] options … that’s what you’re looking for as well.”
“When you meet with a potential provider, ask yourself if they’re going to give you what you need,” Cannon advised. If the answer is yes, chances are you’ve found the menopause specialist for you.
Even if you regularly see a primary care provider or gynecologist, a specialist with a focus on menopause can provide an expert level of care that’s tailored to meet your unique needs.
This resource was created with support from Astellas.