Menopausal Symptoms: No Real Answers
Women not experiencing severe symptoms of menopause should simply wait out their bodily changes without the help of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
A National Institutes of Health consensus panel announced on March 24th that women not experiencing severe symptoms of menopause should simply wait out their bodily changes without the help of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In light of the 2002 findings that hormone replacement therapy is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer, the panel felt that each woman needs to seriously weigh for herself the option to use HRT.
The panel concluded menopause should be viewed as a natural part of life and not treated as a disease. Unfortunately, natural menopause is not the case for over a third of American women who will experience immediate menopause due to a hysterectomy. According to the National Uterine Fibroids Association, there are 600,000 hysterectomies performed every year in the United States. 37% of all women will have a hysterectomy by age 60. Women who experience menopause due to surgery, radiation or chemotherapy often suffer severe and sometimes debilitating symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Many of these women turn to hormone replacement or alternative therapies for relief.
Dr. Carol M. Mangione, chairwoman for the NIH panel, acknowledged that this subgroup of women certainly suffer symptoms that affect their ability to function and diminish their quality of life. But the panel was unable to identify a recommended treatment to help with severe menopausal symptoms.� � Nor was the panel able to offer any recommendation for alternative therapies, concluding that not enough studies have been conducted on these treatments.
Another subcategory is women who have dealt with cancer. These menopausal women are unable to use hormones and therefore turn to alternatives such as wild yam and black cohosh for relief.� � After reviewing the limited data on alternative therapies, the panel suggests that none provide effective treatment for symptoms and more research is needed in this area.
By 2020, 49.5 million women in the United States will be menopausal.� � Symptoms last anywhere from 2 to 10 years and can be particularly difficult for women experiencing an abrupt menopause. Considering that every woman will experience menopause between the ages of 40 to 58 years of age, the medical community offers no real answers to the questions women are asking now.
Copyright 2005, eMaxHealth.com
Written by Louise Roach
Louise also writes for http://www.snowpackusa.com
Find More at Menopause Symptoms column.