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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Ricker

What is a Certified Menopause Practitioner?

Confused about the Menopause transition?

You're not alone!

The research can be confusing and symptoms can range from NONE to about 40! These symptoms can start in your forties even when your menstrual cycles are still regular. Multiple health risks emerge during this time, and sometimes the solutions and treatments can be complex.


An estimated 6,000 women in the US reach menopause daily! Let's face it - if we live long enough ALL of us will go through menopause. But yet, most women feel unprepared and uneducated.


In 2022 an online survey asked over 900 women what their knowledge and attitudes were concerning menopause. Common themes reported were the knowledge gap regarding onset, symptoms and management and a sense of dread. 68% of these women who were already having symptoms reported looking at websites and talking to their friends for answers vs seeking out medical professionals.


There ARE dedicated healthcare professionals who want to support your overall health during this critical time!


A Certified Menopause Practitioner is a healthcare professional who has sought out and obtained additional training to address menopause/perimenopause through the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).


Similarly to other health care specialties, care for midlife women has a body of research based evidence and guidelines. Not all hormone therapies/treatments are rooted in current guidelines or recommendations. NAMS is a great resource to give you evidenced based care. All women deserve to receive the gold standard of care.


Certification as a Menopause Practitioner requires sitting for an initial exam, proving continued education and recertifying every three years.


Why is special training needed? In 2021 a study came out reiterating the lack of formal education in medical/nursing programs that specifically addresses menopause. "The negative consequences of this educational gap on women have been recognized for some time" (1). That's not to say all providers are not equipped to discuss/treat menopause - but that they have to make proactive efforts to get this additional training. There are several physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and PA's that have worked towards specialized education in this area and it's well worth seeking them out.


I've seen this firsthand. Even with my training as a Family Nurse Practitioner AND Certified Nurse Midwife - I felt under equipped to address the hormonal changes of the menopause transition! So I sought out additional education to fill this gap.


In 2014 I sat for the Certification Exam and started incorporating menopausal/mid life health into my practice. Having these conversations in a traditional health care facility was frustrating. Time limitations often left me feeling like I had only scratched the surface. There are many factors that go into symptoms and midlife disease risk. It takes time to hash out all the contributing factors. So after seeing this unmet need for menopausal care and with a desire to dig deeper into research, I knew there was a better way!!


From there - Women's Wellness for Life was born!


Come get equipped and encouraged and together let's make a strategy that can impact your health for the next several decades.


References.




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