No pause for menopause

MB.com.ph
Philipines

By Czarina Nicole O. Ong
May 25, 2009, 10:55am

When women reach a certain age, they change. One way or another, women who used to be so calm, graceful, and patient become cranky. They have sudden mood swings that surprise even their closest friends and family. Add to that, they will complain about the weather 24/7, claiming it’s always hot. This woman could be your mother, grandmother, wife, or sister – she could be anybody. And because of her unpredictable temperament, those living with her are often tempted to hit her with a frying pan.

But before you commit any act of violence against this insufferable woman, think again. This woman, who has been acting so strange, might just be suffering from the symptoms of menopause. It’s not really her fault; therefore, understanding is important.

What makes menopause so dreadful is that it causes insomnia, hot flashes, and other psychological symptoms. Because menopause marks the loss of estrogen, it also means that a woman can no longer give birth.

THE CURE AND ITS CAUSE

When Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was introduced, its benefits seemed too good to be true. According to Wikipedia, HRT “is a system of medical treatment for surgically menopausal, perimenopausal and to a lesser extent postmenopausal women, based on the assumption that the treatment may prevent discomfort caused by diminished circulating estrogen and progesterone hormones.” Women who suffer from symptoms of menopause then considered HRT as a godsend.

But in 1992, a whammy was brought down against HRT: according to national studies conducted in the UK and the US, HRT heightens the risk for breast cancer. Because of this, majority of HRT users stopped taking HRT. Instead of it being a means to help women alleviate menopausal pain, it has become a catalyst for breast cancer, heart attacks, and strokes.

THE REAL DEAL

With that news, who would want to take HRT now? But recent studies have proven the 1992 claim otherwise. Dr. Joan Tan Garcia, President of Philippine Society of Climacteric Medicine, has proudly been taking HRT for 12 years.

“Timing is everything when it comes to HRT,” she says. Those who take HRT while still 60 years or younger have minor risk in terms of acquiring breast cancer et al. Moreover, as Dr. Garcia says, HRT can actually benefit its users: aside from controlling mood swings, hot flashes, and all, it can battle diabetes, osteoporosis, and even reduce migraine attacks.

It is wise, however, for women to consult their doctors first before buying HRT over the counter. Because everybody’s genetic make-up is different, it doesn’t mean what’s effective for a certain woman would automatically be effective for all.

Bottom line is: sure, menopause marks the end of youth and all, but there is a way to overcome its much dreaded symptoms. And the woman you have deemed as crazy is not really crazy after all, but just in need of some HRT.

PSCM spearheads a Lay Awareness Advocacy about proper menopause management to reveal the results of RCTs on the definite role of HRT, making the life of a woman beyond menopause more meaningful. For more information, call PSCM at 4339776.

(Write author at wellbeing@mb.com.ph)

Comment from Leslie
Watching the Big Pharma pendulum swing back to pre 2002 HRT days.  This is why education for women – and this blog which contains articles on women’s health – so we do not forget what harms us –  is so important.

Anyone else offended by the reference to being hit by a frying pan?  How is it that batterers can get away with blaming PMS and menopause on victims – and get away with it?

PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.