In the United States, a woman can now expect to lead half of her adult life in menopause. Clearly, the focus of her healthcare before and during menopause should be on keeping her healthy and happy. During menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen than during the reproductive years. As a result, many problems women have with menopause relate to low estrogen levels.
Hormone replacement treatment (HRT) is approved for menopausal symptoms and the prevention of osteoporosis. In addition, women are likely to experience other benefits from HRT, including improved thinking, memory, sense of well being, skin appearance and sexual interest. Preliminary studies have indicated that many women who take HRT may experience less risk of heart disease, blindness and possibly even colon cancer.
Lifestyle changes can also help promote good menopausal health. These include regular exercise and a good diet, as well as not smoking or becoming overweight. At Cedars-Sinai, we are involved in studies geared toward better health during menopause.
Although HRT can help most menopausal women, it is not appropriate for all. Benefits and unwanted effects from therapy vary from woman to woman. Each woman needs to have a detailed discussion with her doctor or a specialist before starting such therapy.