Before You Go to Your Health Care Practitioner

Women want to feel healthy and to thrive in the prime of their lives. Untreated menopause symptoms can lead to poor quality of life and poor health outcomes. To have a successful conversation with your health care provider, follow our three-step plan below.


Step 1 – TRACK Your Symptoms. We know that our health care system is stretched and that family physicians and other health care providers have busy practices. To make the most of your appointment, you need to come prepared with information to provide your health care provider with a clear picture of your experience. Tracking symptoms that could be related to hormonal change is an important first step. Your health care provider may need to rule out other issues. Heart palpitations, for example, may represent a heart issue that needs to be reviewed or may simply be a symptom of hormonal change.

The following tools can you help you track your symptoms:

  • The Menopause Foundation of Canada has an easy-to-use MenoPause Symptom Tracker  that includes the most common issues women experience.

  • We also encourage you to use the Menopause Quick 6  patient assessment tool, which can help your healthcare provider make informed decisions about symptom management strategies. The MQ6 assessment tool is supported by the Canadian Menopause Society, has been used around the world and the treatment decision tool was published in the journal Canadian Family Physician.


Step 2 – LEARN the latest evidence based information on menopause symptom management. Family physicians and other health care providers want to give the best care possible to their patients. Most are open to learning. If your health care provider lacks the confidence or the knowledge to provide support, we encourage you to share credible, research-backed materials to ensure your discussion is based on the most up-to-date and effective approaches to managing menopause symptoms. Key resources are found below.
  • Pocket Guide: Menopause Management  The Canadian Menopause Society summarizes the clinical practice guidelines of five professional associations: the Canadian Menopause Society/Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (CMS/SOGC 2021), the International Menopause Society (IMS 2016), the North American Menopause Society (NAMS 2022), and the Endocrine Society (ES 2015). This is an essential resource that healthcare providers can access for free.

  • A pragmatic approach to the management of menopause This 2023 article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal summarizes the latest evidence for diagnosing and treating menopause, and outlines the risks/benefits of various therapies. This could be a helpful resource for a healthcare provider looking for the most up to date information on evidence-based treatments.
  •  This site is home to the Menopause Quick 6 (MQ6), a Canadian website created to support healthcare professionals in providing menopausal care to patients. It includes the evidence-based MQ6 treatment algorithm/decision tool that outlines a clear diagnosis and treatment path, along with other physician and patient resources. You can share the website link with your doctor and/or the journal article that explains the tool: An efficient tool for the primary care management of menopause

  • North American Menopause Society’s 2022 Position Statement on Hormone Therapy  and the North American Menopause Society’s 2023 Position Statement on Nonhormone Therapy  are the evidence-based reviews of available treatments and recommendations on which ones have been scientifically proven to be effective.


Step 3 – PREPARE for the conversation. Health care providers have limited time for each appointment. Like any important conversation, it is good to think through what key messages you want to get across and how best to phrase them. Here are some tips to help you have a productive and informed conversation with your healthcare provider about menopause, with a focus on receiving the care and guidance you need.

Describing your symptoms and concerns

Your doctor will usually begin the appointment by asking what has brought you to see them. This is the time to tell them what symptoms you are experiencing and how they are impacting your life.

You may wish to begin by saying that you have some symptoms that you think are related to menopause that you want help with. Then share what you tracked in Step 1. Use “I statements” that explain the symptom and how it makes you feel, such as:

  • I have been waking up with night sweats once/twice/multiple times a night and they are making me tired because I can’t sleep through the night.
  • When I sneeze unexpectedly I pee a bit/a lot/some and this is making me uncomfortable and embarrassed.
  • My vagina feels like sandpaper. It hurts a lot and it would be very painful to have sex.
Female wearing a stethescope

Your healthcare provider will likely respond with some potential next steps. If they say they are not experienced in dealing with menopause or if they offer advice that does not align with the latest guidelines for evidence-based care, this is the time to speak up and offer the additional resources that you have brought with you.

woman talking

Here are some bridging statements you can use when sharing articles with your doctor:

  • I think there is some newer information out on that now, I found…
  • I wanted to learn more on this so I went looking for some evidence-based research and I wanted to share this with you…
  • I’ve been trying to figure out my symptoms and came across this…

Your health care provider may wish to take the information away to review it. If so, don’t leave the appointment until you have discussed booking  a follow-up appointment.

If your health care provider is not able to offer the support that you need, it is appropriate to see another practitioner. Find a menopause specialist here. If the menopause specialist you want to see is a gynecologist, you will need to ask your doctor for a referral.

How to ask for a referral:

  • Thank you for sharing that with me. I would really like to investigate this further, could I please have a referral to Dr. ________?
  • I really appreciate this conversation, it has given me a lot to think about. I would like a referral to a menopause specialist as well. Dr. _______ is someone I would also like to see.
Woman in a conversation in the sunlight

Remember, you deserve to feel healthy. Advocate for the care you need.

“I have been treating menopausal women for decades and know the serious toll symptoms can have on their health and quality of life. Menopause is seen as something women must endure, like a woman’s burden. This is unacceptable. Women deserve to feel healthy and they should not suffer in silence. There is preventative care, lifestyle choices, and safe and effective treatment options to help women thrive during their menopausal years.”

~Dr. Wendy Wolfman, MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, NCMP, president of the Canadian Menopause Society and a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Menopause Foundation of Canada