Today, a woman can expect to live one-third of her life after menopause, and baby boomers are clear that struggling with its symptoms is no way to live. The average age of menopause is 51, and right now there are more than 40 million American women over 50. Initiative's disturbing findings, the latest of which were released last week, millions of menopausal women were taken off hormone replacement therapy. Thus, women who are more fit and active than any generation before them are left with sleeplessness, hot flashes, moodiness, headaches, vaginal dryness, difficulty reaching orgasm and-or low libido.
The groundswell that is building among this population of women is undeniable. This is the generation that spearheaded the women's rights movement and the sexual revolution. And they most certainly do not intend to struggle through menopause silently. These women have challenged every taboo, been active participants in their health care decisions and informed themselves every step of the way, suntimes.com
According to baltimoresun.com for older women, estrogen was a wonder drug. The hormone not only relieved menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings, but also prevented bone loss, heart disease and memory problems. Better yet, it endowed many of those who took it with youth and vigor.
The key problem: Women who take estrogen tend to be significantly healthier than those who don't, even before they start the therapy. On average, they are wealthier, take better care of themselves and are more likely to get early care for medical problems. As a result, positive effects that seem to come from estrogen might actually stem from the overall health disparity between the groups.
The NIH study, known as the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), was set up differently. It was a randomized clinical trial, which is less prone to bias than an observational study.
The scientists also want to find out whether there is any advantage to giving estrogen by a different route, skin patches instead of the usual pills, and changing the schedule of the hormone given along with it, progesterone. The hormones must be taken together because estrogen alone can cause uterine cancer; adding progesterone counters that risk.
Dr. Manson said earlier studies had suggested that hormones could protect younger, newly menopausal women against heart disease, and she added that evidence from animal studies also indicated that estrogen could protect the arteries. Women who wait too long after menopause may miss out on that artery protection, she said. And if they start taking estrogen later, after their arteries have already become narrowed by disease, the hormone may be harmful, because it can cause blood clots in diseased vessels that may lead to heart attacks and strokes, inform nytimes.com
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