Menopause hormone therapy taking center stage

Linda Brent, PhD

Executive Director, Parsemus Foundation

Menopause taking center stage, shown by woman fanning herself due to hot flashes.

The topic of menopause has for years been ignored and misunderstood. The lack of information and open conversation about menopause has impacted most women in mid-life when they may be confused, embarrassed, and suffering from a range of physical and psychological changes that healthcare providers are often ill-prepared to address.

Fortunately, menopause is getting more attention as a growing number of women demand better. A recent exposé by Susan Dominus of the New York Times titled “Women have been misled about menopause” unravels the reasons that menopause has been brushed under the rug for so long and describes the history of menopausal hormone therapy. Key to this discussion is the widespread misunderstanding of the Women’s Health Initiative clinical trial, which resulted in a drastic drop in the number of women using hormone therapy, and later studies that highlighted the importance of the timing of hormone therapy on health outcomes.

As evidence that menopause is no longer taboo, a plethora of women’s health start-ups have focused on menopause. Tele-health menopause treatment options and new menopause beauty products are among the offerings of entrepreneurs and celebrities. The medical community lags behind, however, with menopause training for gynecologists limited at best.

With misinformation about menopause all too common, women can become frustrated in their search for answers. To clarify the facts about menopausal hormone therapy, the Parsemus Foundation has supported the launch of an evidence-based organization called the Menopause Hormone Project. Its mission is to foster sound, science-based discussion among women and their healthcare providers while simultaneously correcting the profound misunderstandings surrounding menopause hormone therapy.

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