Do you understand menopause? Do doctors always know what they’re doing?
My wife and I have a friend who is 71-years-old. She had a problem in her late 50s going through menopause. Rather than help her through her “change of life,” the doctor put her on a hormone that kept her periods going.
Just recently she began having hormonal problems. Because these hormones should never have been continued, she developed cancer.
Many people think menopause is something that happens with no possible side effects. It sometimes brings great problems. The most frequent problems have to do with hormones.
What are menopause and hormones?
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her periods stop. This typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 years of age.
At this time the hormones estrogen and progesterone decrease.
Symptoms of lack of hormones can be vaginal dryness, pain during sex, hot flashes and osteoporosis. (Thin bones)
What are symptoms of menopause?
Symptoms of menopause can include hot flashes, changes in time and length of period, vaginal dryness and thinning of bones.
Determining whether or not you need treatment by hormone replacement therapy (HRT) determines on whether or not the symptoms being experienced go away in a reasonable period of time and aren’t too hard on the woman.
The main reason to use hormone therapy is that it is approved by the FDA and it protects people from the thinning of bones which can cause terrible lifetime problems.
Dangerous side effects can occur from using hormone therapy including blood clots, heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer to name a few.
Before turning to hormones to help with menopause it is best to be active and get exercise, stop smoking and control your weight.
When should I use hormones?
Often after menopause, women use hormones to treat thinning bones, prevent strokes, to prevent Alzheimer’s syndrome and prevent aging and wrinkles.
As we study menopause, we find a common situation that affects most every woman. It often results in hormone imbalance. However, it seems that simply using hormones to offset this imbalance is not always the safest thing to do.
Perhaps the best tact is to develop a healthy lifestyle before the menopausal years so that there is less of a problem going through this difficult time.
“Menopause & hormones,” Fact Sheet, 2007, FDA