Hot Flashes, Hormones, and Your Health

What you should know about menopausal hormone therapy – from the renowned Harvard doctor who helped to pioneer the latest research

This year, millions of women worldwide will experience a universal female experience: menopause. Although some women will sail through the transition with few problems, three of every four will experience symptoms due to wide fluctuations of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

One in four will experience major symptoms that impair their quality of life. The most common will be bothersome hot flashes, drenching night sweats, disturbed sleep, mood swings, vaginal dryness, concerns about sexuality, and worries about memory slippages – all of which may affect a woman’s most important relationships and her ability to function at home and at work.

Recent studies and media reports on menopausal hormone therapy (formerly known as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT) have raised public awareness and sparked a national debate about the benefits and side effects of treatment.

Dr. JoAnn Manson, a professor at Harvard Medical School and author of HOT FLASHES, HORMONES AND YOUR HEALTH is one of the country’s leading authorities on menopause and is literally in the eye of the storm. She was a lead investigator on two of the largest and most comprehensive studies on the health of U.S. women to date – the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, which has observationally studied more than 121,000 female nurses over three decades, to determine the impact of hormone therapy on a myriad of health outcomes, and the Women’s Health Initiative, that studied more than 27,000 women on hormone therapy or placebo over five-to-seven years.

So how does this translate for you? Dr. Manson helps you make sense of the latest scientific evidence and use it to decide what’s best for you. She believes both the alarmist and uncritically positive views of menopausal hormone therapy are both incorrect and harmful to women’s health. Her crucial “unifying theory” may help to improve the lives of millions of women. Among its key points: Hormone therapy tends to be beneficial when started early after menopause, and harmful when started late after menopause.

This book will help to demystify the physiological reasons behind your symptoms, make sense out of the seemingly contradictory information about hormone therapy and heart disease and other health outcomes, and clarify how your own physiological makeup will help to determine what’s best for you. In short, this is a unique and indispensable guide to optimal health during menopause, the most comprehensive and up-to-date book on hormone therapy and alternative treatments, written by a highly respected expert in the field and a champion of women’s health.

HOT FLASHES, HORMONES, AND YOUR HEALTH answers your questions about menopause, hormone therapy, and other treatment options, while providing a step-by-step, personalized framework for making the most informed menopausal hormone therapy decision for your own symptoms and health profile. It answers the following:

• Which women are now considered good candidates for hormone therapy and who should avoid it at all costs?
• How can you calculate your personal risk for common conditions likely to be affected by hormone therapy – namely heart disease, stroke, blood clots in the legs and lungs, breast cancer, and hip fracture? How should these calculations guide your decision-making process?
• For women who are good candidates, what is the best formulation and dose of estrogen to take, the preferred progestogen, and the optimal duration of treatment? What’s the truth about “bioidentical” hormones?
• For women who can’t – or prefer not to – take menopausal hormone therapy, what are the best options for symptom relief and general health?
• What is the appropriate role for soy, black cohosh, and other alternative remedies for symptom relief and general health?
• How can you work effectively with your healthcare provider to manage the transition to menopause?

Manson notes that the guidelines in the book are not intended to replace advice and medical care provided by your personal physician or healthcare provider.

About the Author
JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., is professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Chief of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Named a leader in women’s health by Ladies Home Journal and American Health for Women, Dr. Manson has also received the “Women in Science Award” from the American Medical Women’s Association. She is the author of The 30-Minute Fitness Solution and co-author of Healthy Women, Healthy Lives. Dr. Mansion has published more than 600 scientific articles, is a health columnist for Glamour Magazine, and serves on the medical advisory board for several health publications.

Source: Harvard Health Publications

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