Six common myths about menopause:
- All estrogen therapies are alike.
- Natural menopause means taking no hormones.
- Women who take estrogen therapy develop more breast cancer.
- Estrogen therapy causes weight gain.
- Hormone therapy is bad for you.
- The Women's Health Initiative study evaluated women of all ages.
Dr. Pollycove offers the following advice:
- Lifestyle changes, including a well-balanced diet and regular exercise, can often diminish the physical side effects associated with menopause.
- Estrogen therapy also continues to be the gold standard for the management of hot flashes, the most common physical sign of menopause. However, because of misconceptions that still exist today due to the influx of conflicting information that has emerged since the Women's Health Initiative Study, women may not be aware that advances in low-dose hormone therapies exist.
- Transdermal estrogen therapies or those applied to the skin, such as the recently FDA-approved Divigel, are emerging as an effective and safe mode of treatment.
Research suggests that transdermal estrogen therapies have demonstrated the potential to improve risk/benefit profiles for women, which might be due to the fact that these therapies absorb directly into the bloodstream without having to pass through the liver.
This prevents exposure to high hormone levels, which might account for some of the side effects associated with oral therapies, such as diminished libido and blood clots.