Research Directions for Treatment of Menopause-Related Symptoms
What are the future research directions for treatment of menopause-related symptoms and conditions?
The future research direction for the treatment of menopausal symptoms is multifaceted and can be categorized as conceptual, methodological, treatment-oriented, and research targeted at improving quality of care.
A conceptual framework is needed to link the most prevalent menopausal symptoms to genetic, neurochemical, neurobiological, and physiologic factors and reproductive surgical or medical treatments hypothesized to cause symptoms, and the social and cultural context in which women experience them. Testing of the hypothesized associations in the model will delineate which symptoms are closely associated with hormonal changes and which are not and may identify novel nonhormonal treatments targeted to specific neurochemical and biochemical pathways for the most bothersome symptoms.
Reliable and valid data collection instruments of the most prevalent menopausal symptoms are needed, and the research community should be given incentives to use the same standardized measures across studies. These instruments need to be developed and validated in non-English languages. A standardized set of measurement tools for specific domains should be developed for use in federally funded studies and encouraged in all studies. Standardized approaches for the assessment of vasomotor symptoms and urogenital symptoms will greatly facilitate the comparison and pooling of results across studies.
In many of the large, well-designed clinical trials, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, improved in 30