Women should be offered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help manage problematic menopause symptoms, according to new draft guidelines.

The proposed guidance to GPs from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says research shows cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help reduce menopause symptoms, including hot flushes and night sweats, depressive symptoms and problems sleeping.

The draft NICE guidelines on menopause say the talking therapy could be considered alongside or as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

NICE adds women should choose which treatments on its guidance work best for them and discuss the benefits and risks with their doctor.

Promising start

Dr Clare Symons, our Head of Research, said: “This is a promising start in recognising how talking therapies can have a positive impact on the lives of women going through the menopause.

“NICE requires a strong evidence base before recommending treatments for any condition. These recommendations are based on evidence that supports the use of CBT, and that evidence should be thoroughly scrutinised.

Range of types of therapy

“It’s important to remember that therapy is far broader than solely CBT and we should also be exploring and understanding the benefits of a range of types of therapy and recognising that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach here. There is limited but emerging evidence that different therapeutic approaches can also help women going through the menopause in a variety of ways. There is an urgent need for more research in this area.

Commissioning more counsellors and psychotherapists

“These recommendations also mean that there needs to be increased workforce capacity in place to deliver this vital therapy for those who are recommended it. This requires additional investment, including the commissioning of more counsellors and psychotherapists.”

For the first time, the draft guidance also specifically refers to trans men and non-binary people registered female at birth.

The current guidance, which dates back to 2015, only mentions women experiencing menopausal symptoms.

We’ll be reviewing NICE’s guidance thoroughly over the coming weeks and responding, where appropriate.

The consultation on the guidance runs until 5 January 2024. 

Visit the NICE guidance on menopause consultation web page.