Less Than 10% Get Menopause Help From GP in UK | Stella
Long-term health
7 mins

Less than 10% of UK women get the menopause relief they need from their doctor

byDr Rebecca Love

Stella has launched a new online menopause clinic, offering personalised, affordable menopause care and access to all treatment options following an assessment, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) if eligible. The launch follows the acquisition of HRT prescriber Alva, an online hormonal treatments prescription service.

It means Stella has a huge database of assessment responses from more than 5,000 UK women seeking menopause relief, which makes it one of the most extensive menopause-focused datasets yet. Our data scientists have analysed this information (which has been anonymised so that individual women can’t be identified), and now we’re ready to share what we’ve learned.

  • More than 90% of the women who went to their doctor for a solution for menopause symptoms didn’t get what they needed, including over 40% who say they didn’t get any help at all
  • Fatigue, lack of sleep, anxiety and depression are the most-cited symptoms
  • Most women are looking for help with as many as six or seven symptoms 
  • The lack of support means more than 60% have tried supplements despite a lack of evidence that they work

Women have a unique menopause experience

There are more than 40 menopause symptoms [1] and our research across 25 of the most common showed that the combination, number, frequency, duration and severity experienced differ hugely. Our data shows that in a group of 100 women, every woman is likely to report a unique combination of symptoms and priorities when it comes to treatment.

Sleep and mood problems are the most common menopause symptoms

Most of us associate menopause with hot flushes. In fact, our data shows women are also likely to need support for tiredness, poor sleep, anxiety and depression. Our research shows that on average, each woman needed help to manage six to seven symptoms.

The top 5 menopause symptoms women need help with:

  • Feeling tired or low in energy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Unexpected weight gain

More than 60% said that at least one symptom had a severe impact on their life, with energy, sleep and mood problems again in the top five.

Perimenopausal sleep issues hit HARD. Sometimes I was too hot and couldn’t cool down, other times my brain refused to switch off or I lay wide awake for no reason. Clumsiness, forgetfulness and moodiness increased tenfold when I was sleep-deprived.”

Gayle O’Brien Kennedy

Read more

Nearly half said their experience with their doctor was ‘poor’

Our analysis showed:

  • Over 40% rated their experience with their doctor as poor when it came to menopause
  • Over 90% didn’t get what they needed from their doctor to manage symptoms
  • Less than 10% got what they needed from their doctor, rating the experience as good

Find out how to talk to your doctor about menopause

Women are turning to unproven treatments for symptoms

The gap in primary care has left women browsing the internet and shop shelves for anything that could help, even if there’s limited evidence that a product is effective. Our research found that:

  • 62% had tried supplements
  • 25% had tried herbal remedies

At least 3.5 million UK women are dealing with menopause symptoms

Five million women in the UK between the ages of 45-55 [1] are dealing with perimenopause or postmenopause with 3 in 4 experiencing at least one menopausal symptom [2]. This means over 3.5 million women, more than the entire population of Greater Manchester, are likely dealing with symptoms right now.

What works?

Research shows that lifestyle and behavioral changes can decrease the severity of menopausal symptoms, such as anxiety and depression [3], hot flushes [4], weight gain [5], sleep issues [6], and urogenital symptoms [7].

Stella aims to provide better menopause care, improving the quality of life now and health in later life. The Stella app offers a personalised plan that brings together the lifestyle change recommendations that research has shown to be most effective. This includes cognitive behavioural therapy for sleep disturbance, specific pelvic floor muscle training for bladder and sex problems and nutritionist-approved advice for weight management.

It works. Our research shows 75% of women who complete their Stella plans report an improvement in their symptoms.

HRT is the most commonly prescribed medication for managing menopausal symptoms [8], and is proven to be effective across a wide range of symptoms [9, 10, 11]. 81% of women prescribed HRT reported that their symptoms improved after taking it. Stella now offers an online assessment to help find the right treatments, which could include HRT if it is right for you.

81% of women prescribed HRT said it helped symptoms

HRT replaces the hormones that women produce less of during menopause, including oestrogen, progesteron[9]. HRT can be administered in several ways, including tablets, gels, patches, sprays and pessaries.

  • Observational evidence from our users is also encouraging, with over 81% of women who were prescribed HRT reporting that their symptoms improved after taking HRT

However, there are risks associated with taking HRT which vary depending on the type and dose of HRT and a woman’s medical history [12, 13].

Lifestyle change and HRT complement each other. You can use the Stella app at the same time as HRT or on its own if hormone treatments are not suitable for you.

Read more about HRT risks and benefits.

About our data

This statistical analysis of the data of over 5,000 women in the UK who had undertaken the initial free online assessment offered by Stella. The data was collected between July 2021 and December 2021 and has been anonymised.

Female health specific issues chronically under researched [14]. Stella will continue to collect this data over time, enabling a detailed longitudinal analysis that will begin to address the data-gap that affects female health issues. This data will help to personalise care during menopause, work out which treatments are effective, promote healthy ageing and extend life expectancy.

We only use anonymised data for research and the information remains private, in keeping with EU and UK GDPR laws.