Feature Article

The use and abuse of screening tests around menopause

Alastair H MacLennan, David W Sturdee



This editorial discusses screening tests in women around the menopause.

Article Extract

‘Listen carefully to the patient, take a good history and examine her. Then you will need few, if any, diagnostic tests to determine the correct diagnosis and treatment.’ ‘Don’t order a test if it is not going to change your management.’ ‘Unnecessary tests create unnecessary costs, unnecessary anxiety and sometimes unnecessary interventions.’ These old adages are still true, particularly when a woman presents around menopause with typical menopausal symptoms. Nevertheless, many otherwise healthy women are referred to menopause clinics by doctors who are unsure of the management of the menopause, with a battery of negative screening tests performed at great expense to her, her insurers or the national health system.