Women undergoing menopause experience symptoms including hot flashes, sleeplessness, depression, joint pain, and poor concentration, to name a few. Hormone therapy has proven to improve some of these symptoms in menopausal women, but new research shows that treatment may only improve quality of life in those who undergo a significant number of hot flashes.

A recently published study done in Finland, looked at use of hormone therapy in women who had recently gone through menopause. 150 women were divided into two groups, those with seven or more moderate to severe hot flashes per day, and those with three or fewer mild hot flashes per day. In each group, half the women used hormone therapy and half received only a placebo.

All women were asked to track their hot flashes as well as their additional menopausal symptoms. After six months, hormone therapy improved the overall health of women with moderate to severe hot flashes in symptoms including sleep, anxiety, memory and concentration, joint and muscle pain, and hot flashes. Hormone therapy made no difference in those with mild or no hot flashes.

Though the Finland study may not apply to women of other ethnicities, the research demonstrates how treatment must be personalized for women undergoing menopause. Physicians should take into account the different symptoms that a woman is experiencing when recommending treatment. Women should also always consider all the options in improving symptoms, from lifestyle to herbs to hormones. To read more about the different treatments available to minimize menopausal symptoms, visit http://menopause.northwestern.edu/

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