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New Montreal clinic aims to break the taboo around menopause

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A new clinic in Montreal is trying to break the discomfort of talking about menopause – a discomfort experts say is leading to a lack of research, education and care.

Since opening in January, 162 patients have walked through the door at Clinique Méno-Joie, and its phone has been ringing off the hook.

"There's a need, 100 per cent," said Marie-Josee Bourassa, the founder of the private health clinic.

After working in the public system for 26 years, Bourassa made the difficult but necessary decision to leave.

"After analyzing the gaps in our public health care. I realized that women were lacking services and expertise with regard to midlife health, perimenopause and menopause, more specifically," she said.

Bourassa believes Meno-Joie is the only clinic of its kind in Quebec.

"We're going through a holistic approach, a full width of tests and analyses and evaluations to pinpoint if what they're experiencing is normal and offer solutions and offer health care," she said.

The nurse-led clinic works with middle-aged patients who are experiencing up to 50 symptoms of menopause that can severely affect their daily lives, including hot flashes and brain fog.

"It's a partnership and developing wellness at a time in life where women typically don't feel well. So it's extremely inspiring," said Diane Tkalec, a nurse clinician at the clinic.

It's something everyone facing menopause experiences, but experiences differently.

Meno-Joie's goal is to treat as many symptoms in one place, said Bourassa.

Marie-Josee Bourassa, founder of Clinique Meno-Joie. (CTV News)There is a nutritionist, coach and psychotherapist on staff, and every treatment plan is unique.

"It's highly personalized. There is no. 'This is the treatment plan for ABCDE,' you know, cut, paste, cut, paste. It's not that at all," said Tkalec.

The aim is to change the mindset around menopause and alleviate the shame and taboo around it.

"Menopause is a very normal, justified phase in every woman's life. Everybody. It's an obliged passage," said Bourassa.

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