OCT 31, 2017 6:42 AM PDT

Many Women Still Hesitate to Use Hormones for Menopause Symptoms

When a woman enters menopause, it can be a difficult adjustment. Physical issues like hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes and weight gain are reported by many women.

There are a few ways women can deal with these ailments. Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is the first choice of many health professionals and women because it's an efficient way to eliminate symptoms that are debilitating. Some women choose to forego HRT and use dietary supplements, herbs, and even acupuncture or yoga.

A recent study by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) revealed that even though HRT is safe and effective for most patients, women are still reluctant to use it. It seems that many women would prefer to try other methods for menopausal symptom relief first before taking replacement hormones. The fear could stem from two studies published in 2002 and 2003. In one of them, an increased risk of breast cancer was associated with the use of HRT. The other project raised concerns about an increased risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems. While there were some issues in the methodology of the two studies, and later research found no significant risk for most women, the fear remains with many.

Even health professionals started to question the use of HRT. From the 1960s and on it was practically automatic for doctors to prescribe hormones to women. When medical research raised questions about its use, doctors and patients became more cautious. Hot flashes and night sweats are the most commonly reported side effects of menopause and the two that seem most bothersome in women. Estimates are that about 75% of women in the United States suffer from them and for some, they last for years after menstruation has ceased.

The study reported that even though women "strongly agreed" that HRT was effective in treating hot flashes, most were still unlikely to use them to alleviate their symptoms. The study is one of the first pieces of research on menopause that looked at how women feel about treatment options rather than just studying the physical issues.

Dr. Terry Gibbs, the lead author of the study, explained, "Our findings suggest that women are less willing to use the most empirically validated treatment for hot flashes than other alternative treatment options. Also, their confidence in successful treatment outcomes was not greater for hormone therapy than the other options."

Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS, said that the results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of NAMS earlier this month in Philadephia. She stated, "This study tells us that there remains an unmet need to educate women about the safety and effectiveness of hormone therapy for most symptomatic women. The benefits go beyond the relief of hot flashes and include improvement in night sweats, sleep disruption, prevention of bone loss, and fewer heart events."

The video below features Dr. Pinkerton and has more information on NAMS and their menopause treatment guidelines for women and health professionals.

Sources: NAMS, Women's Health Concern, Breast Cancer News

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
MAR 09, 2020
Immunology
MAR 09, 2020
Mobilizing the brain's immune cells boosts memory
A study by researchers at Australia’s RMIT University has uncovered a surprising connection between immune cells in the brain and their influence on...
MAR 08, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAR 08, 2020
How a Decoy Strategy Helps Cells Evade the Effects of Pathogens
Scientists have identified a strategy used by cells to shield them from the toxins that can be released by dangerous bacterial pathogens....
MAR 08, 2020
Microbiology
MAR 08, 2020
Cruise Ship Travel Should Now be Deferred, Says CDC
The CDC continues to issue new guidance related to the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness it causes....
MAR 15, 2020
Microbiology
MAR 15, 2020
A Second Person Has Been Cured of HIV
New research has suggested that after long-term follow-up, HIV is no longer detectable in a patient that was previously HIV-positive....
MAR 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 23, 2020
Is it possible to degrade PFASs?
Have you ever heard of PFASs? Also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, these synthetic chemicals built of carbon and fluorine atoms have the most...
MAR 24, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
MAR 24, 2020
Florida Won't Cap THC for Patients Under 21
Medical marijuana has been legal in Florida since 2016 when more than 70 percent of voters approved the related measure. In March 2020, Republican lawmaker...
Loading Comments...