What Is Menopause ?
The word menopause literally means when your periods stop. A woman is post menopausal when she has not had a period for one year or longer. The term perimenopause describes the time before the menopause when you experience menopausal symptoms but are still having periods. Your periods typically change during this time and may be less regular and heavier or lighter in flow.
How can it affect me?
Menopause can be a time of huge change and have a negative impact on quality of life for many women. Our experience is that there is a lack of support, information and expertise available in this area. The symptoms experienced by women can hugely affect their relationships, their home life, their performance in the workplace as well as worsen longer term medical conditions .
Equally some women sail through the menopausal years without any symptoms or significant change in quality of life. However, troublesome symptoms are only part of the issue. We know that after menopause, a woman’s risk of many illnesses like osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke along with Alzheimers disease increase hugely.
What does this clinic offer?
Both our doctors have specialist training in assessing and managing perimenopausal and menopausal women. We have found that any women raise the subject with us at the end of a consultation about other issues and sufficient time cannot be given to the impact it is having on a woman’s life. By running a dedicated menopause clinic, we have found that we have more time to listen, to support and to educate our patients. It is the first step in you learning what to expect from these years as well on the effects it may have on you.
Decisions on treatment options are made jointly between our patients and doctors and adequate follow up is arranged.
An assessment of risk for both osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease is made based on bloods and physical examination. This helps guide the advice given on relevant investigations and treatments for other long term illnesses.
Is this clinic only for people looking to be prescribed HRT?
No! Although we are happy to prescribe HRT to suitable patients, our experience is that not all women want this. Many women want support, advice and information on what they are experiencing as well as information on non hormonal treatment options.
Also as mentioned previously, education and assessment of a woman’s risk of long term illnesses like brittle bones, stroke and dementia are a huge part of managing the menopause and we offer a comprehensive assessment of this.
Is this clinic only for woman who have finished having periods?
No! Many women have very significant symptoms before their periods finish and can be helped greatly by HRT or other non hormonal treatments. It is also an ideal time to address lifestyle factors that may contribute to longer term illnesses after the menopause – diet, exercise, smoking etc
What does the clinic cost?
200 euro for the 3 visits detailed below. Please note that a Medical Card does not cover the cost of this clinic.
We will happily see patients of other doctors.
Extra cost may be incurred if further investigations are deemed necessary, for example ultrasound, DEXA scan, insertion of coil/other long acting contraception, 24 hour blood pressure monitor, more frequent follow up visits.
Schedule of Clinic
Visit 1 – assessment of symptoms, concerns and expectations of the clinic
Review of relevant personal and family medical history
Physical examination including bloods, height, weight , Blood Pressure
Education about menopause, treatment options and suitability of patient for these
Visit 2 – Approx one week later
Review of information given at Visit 1
Discussion of treatment options and prescription if desired
Assessment of risk of osteoporosis and Cardiovascular disease based on results of tests taken
Treatment options discussed based on risk assessment
Visit 3 – Approx 3 months later
Revisit symptoms scores done at Visit 1
Review of treatment prescribed and suitability of it for you
“So many women I’ve talked to see menopause as an ending. But I’ve discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else. It’s your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent”
– Oprah Winfrey
Dr Sinead Fitzpatrick
MB BCH BAO MMedSc Dip MSK MFSEM
Dr Sinead Fitzpatrick
A Waterford native, Dr Fitzpatrick graduated with honours from UCD in 2002. She then undertook a 4 year Specialist Training Programme in General Practice in the South East, completing this in 2007. She took over Fitzpatrick’s Medical Centre in 2011.
During her training at UCD, Dr Fitzpatrick won academic prizes for Obstetrics and Gynaecology and has maintained her interest in this area. She has specialised qualifications in Family Planning and provides a full range of contraception services including insertion of Mirena coil, other IUDs and Implanon. She has also undertaken further training in managing the menopause.
Dr Fitzpatrick also established the Diabetes and Asthma Clinics in the surgery following the completion of a Certificate in Diabetes in Primary Care.
Dr Fitzpatrick has a lifelong involvement in sport with her proudest achievement being capped several times for Munster Rugby, playing at Second Row. Another facet of Dr Fitzpatricks practice is her keen interest in Sports Medicine and Musculoskeletal Medicine. She has been Team Doctor with Waterford Senior Camogie since 2016 and was Club Doctor at Waterford FC from 2015 – 2020. She provides medical care and match day cover for Ballygunner Hurling Club adult teams. In addition, she does occasional work for Munster Rugby and the FAI.
She is a volunteer on the UCD MERIT Project whereby she attends cardiac arrests in the local area to assist the emergency services.
In her spare time Dr Fitzpatrick is an avid reader and keen sports woman. She has a strong belief in the role of exercise and fitness in maintaining both our mental and physical health.
Dr Susan Harkin
Dr Susan Harkin graduated with honours from University College Dublin in 2012. Following this she worked in various hospitals throughout Ireland and New Zealand, gaining skills in Paediatrics, Medicine for the Elderly, A+E and Obstetrics/Gynaecology. She then entered specialized training in GP (General Practice) in Cork. During her training programme she gained extensive experience in many other specialties including Dermatology and Gastroenterology as well as general medicine and general practice.
Dr Harkin has completed a number of postgraduate qualifications including the ICGP Certificate in Contraception with training in insertion of long acting contraceptives such as Mirena coil and Implanon. She is also a qualified Smeartaker with the Cervical Check programme. Dr Harkin has completed Diplomas in Musculoskeletal Medicine and Child Health.
Dr Harkin joined us in July 2019 and came highly recommended from her GP Training Scheme in Cork. She is experienced in managing a range of health issues such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases as well as having special interests in women’s health and child health. Dr Harkin is continuously updating her knowledge and skills through further education and training and regularly participates in CPD activities at both local and national level.
Like Dr Fitzpatrick, Dr Harkin enjoys sport and fitness and is a big believer in the role of exercise in maintaining health and well-being. A fluent Irish speaker, she is an accomplished rower and has travelled extensively.
Dr Susan Harkin
MB BCh BAO MSc MICGP DCH DipMSK
Neasa Breen, Practice Nurse
Neasa Breen, Practice Nurse
Neasa has been a Practice Nurse for over 10 years. She trained in St.Vincent’s Hospital Dublin as a Registered General Nurse and furthered her training in Intensive Care, where she worked as a Senior Staff Nurse for a decade.
Since moving on to General Practice, Neasa has developed a special interest in Women’s Health and looks after the majority of the cervical smears in our practice. She has worked as a Clinical Trainer with Cervical Check where she educated both doctors and Practice Nurses on aspects of Cervical screening in Primary Care (General Practice).
Neasa also undertakes the Vaccination side of our practice, co-ordinating the Childhood Vaccination Schedule for babies and our Travel Medicine Clinic amongst others. Additionally, she runs the nursing side of our Chronic Disease Clinics whereby she monitors and educates our diabetic, asthmatic and heart disease patients on a regular basis.