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Are the New NICE Guidelines a help or a hinderance to Menopausal Women?

Experts, MPs, and campaigners have raised concerns over new official guidance on treating menopause, warning that it may harm women's health. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recently released draft guidelines suggesting that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could be offered "alongside or as an alternative to" hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, depression, and sleep problems.

Critics argue that the guidance uses misogynistic language, downplays symptoms, and neglects to highlight the benefits of HRT for bone and cardiovascular health compared to CBT. Mumsnet, in response to the guidance, criticized the "patronizing" and "offensive" language, expressing concerns that it would be detrimental to women's health. Justine Roberts, the founder and CEO of Mumsnet, emphasized the existing challenges women face in accessing HRT and voiced worries that the guidance would make doctors reluctant to prescribe HRT.

Menopause expert and campaigner Kate Muir accused Nice of scaremongering, asserting that the draft guidance distorts science to create fear and steer women away from the increasingly safe forms of HRT. Dr. Nina Wilson, a GP and founder of the One Woman Health women's clinic, expressed concerns that advocating for CBT could perpetuate stigma around menopause, suggesting that psychological therapy might be seen as implying that symptoms are purely psychological.

Dr. Wilson highlighted the limitations of CBT in addressing the underlying causes of menopausal symptoms, comparing it to using Viagra for erectile dysfunction without addressing the underlying issue. She stressed the importance of acknowledging HRT as the single most effective treatment for all menopausal symptoms, with additional benefits such as maintaining bone strength and potentially reducing cardiovascular risk.

Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on menopause, criticized the guidance as "antiquated," "naive," and "ill-thought-out." She emphasized that while talking might provide emotional support, it would not alleviate physical symptoms, and women should have immediate access to the support they feel they need, whether it be HRT or CBT.

What are your thoughts?

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