Menopause: Is It Really for You? by Marjorie Dorfman
During and after menopause, therapies to ease symptoms and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease may be beneficial. All of the following options cannot take the place of your doctor or other health care professional evaluating your need for them. A licensed physician should be consulted both for diagnosis and treatment. That being said, I will proceed to relate the treatments my non-medical research has uncovered. They include: Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), Raloxifene and Biphosphonates such as alendronate. What was that, you say? Allow me to elaborate.
As the name implies, hormone replacement therapy replaces the hormone, estrogen and often progesterone, which you lose after menopause. It alleviates the symptoms of hot flashes and vaginal dryness. It has also been shown to stem bone loss and may be linked to improved cardiovascular health. The other side of the scale is that HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer, although it must be said that current research points to accelerated growth in existing cancers. For many women the benefits of protection against osteoporosis and heart disease may outweigh the risk of breast cancer.
Raloxifine is called a selective estrogen receptor modulator (serm) and was first used as a treatment for some breast cancer patients. It does not ease menopausal symptoms, but for women at risk for Osteoporosis, it is an alternative to HRT therapy. It prevents bone loss, and some improvements in cholesterol levels may be seen. It may also protect against breast cancer, but as all things, has a down side as well. It has no effect on hot flashes. Biphosphonates help fortify bones against the process that causes bone loss. However, they provide no other benefit. They may be taken in conjunction with HRT. For prevention of cardio-vascular disease for women with high cholesterol, medications to lower it are also available. Take your pick. One from Column A or two from Column B?
Column C must also be presented, both for confusion and clarifications sake. This involves the world of herbs and natural foods in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Once again, no expert am I, but there seems to be some answers for some people here as well as everywhere else. They may be helpful but can only be an adjunct to medical treatment and can in no way replace it. Herbs and plants offer historical benefits and a botanical alternative for relief from the symptoms of menopause, such as headaches, nausea, irritability, bloating and hot flashes. These include among others: Chasteberry, Valerian Root, White Willow Bark, Ginger Root, Wild Yam, Black Cohosh and Dong Quai. Research on the benefits of each is readily available in health stores and related facilities.
What should we do? The answer, my friends, is not blowing in the wind, but lies within understanding who we are and what our medical history and tastes dictate. Somewhere theres a way for every woman to go through menopause as painlessly as possible. Is it warm in here or is it me? I feel hot and then chilled. Oh, boy, I just remembered. I forgot to take my hormone replacement pill this morning. Now I suddenly feel like Î am on a roller coaster. Maybe I should take advantage of the feeling and live a little. I wonder if theres time to run down to Coney Island and take a ride on their roller coaster as well. Wanna come along? Good luck! Did you know . . .