Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Six things We Know and Need to Know in Menopause

OK, now are your thoroughly confused? I thought so.

What we know:
  1. Menopause and its aftermath is going to last a long time
  2. There are some negative health consequences to losing ovarian hormones
  3. Hormone replacement has benefits and risks
  4. Products designed for remedies may also have risks manufacturers do not need to disclose
  5. Recommendations are conflicting
  6. You know someone with breast cancer

What we need to know

  1. Your bone density
  2. Your last mammogram report
  3. Your family history
  4. Your level of discomfort/symptoms and what they are
  5. Your feelings and philosophy regarding aging
  6. Your medical and surgical history

Beware of the snake oil salesmen!

There are many, many products, treatments, clinics, and practitioners who will claim to have the answers for you. That is appealing because you will not have to make any decisions. This is an area of your medical life where you will need to make the decision that is right for you.

My advice is that you make sure you have a legitimate physician patient relationship with any practitoner who is prescribing for you or selling you their proprietary products. Ask about their licensure and training. Have they done a proper history and physical examination? Or have they had you fill out a questionnaire and passed a stethescope around the room? Is their product FDA approved? What is their quality control process for manufacture if there is no FDA oversight? Under what circumstances would they say no to you?

I just purused a menopause cure all that is over the counter and touted to be clinically proven to relieve menopausal symptoms and be risk free! I looked at the medically proven studies on their website. It consisted of a trial in seven women and in mice. Medical studies need to be done in hundreds if not thousands of subjects to be valid. The placebo rate for just about anything is 30% response rate. You need to beat that in large numbers to show effectiveness. In this very, very short study of a few weeks no harm was revealed, thus the claim of risk free. Remember it took 5 years in the WHI study of over 100,000 women to show a slight increase in breast cancer risk, which is why everybody threw their hormones out the window. Watch out. Buyer beware of internet scams, people trying to sell you miracles, and results too good to be true.

You are not married to your decision regarding menopause, and if fact may change the way you manage it several times. Things change. Your sophitication in managing your health, new medical information regarding risks and benefits,etc., new formulations, methods of administration, new medicines.

My take home message, is that it is confusing and take your time to work it out with someone your trust.

More to come.............

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