Misinformation preventing women from getting effective menopause treatment – Report

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A new research has revealed that a significant number of women experiencing menopause are not getting the appropriate treatment for their symptoms, largely due to the prevalence of misinformation.

The research, led by Susan Davis from Monash University in Australia, calls for more personalised treatment plans that address the greatly varying physical and mental symptoms of menopause.

“Now, there’s been this real surge of interest in menopause,” the report published on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 stated. The journal ‘Cell‘ then invited Davis and her colleagues to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about menopause, what’s not known and the challenges in the area.

“One of the challenges being most symptomatic women are not getting appropriate therapy. More than 85% of women in high-income countries do not receive effective, regulator-approved treatment for their menopausal symptoms,” according to the review, which examined over 200 sources going back to 71 years.

“Midlife for women can be pretty tough. They have got a lot of balls in the air. They’re balancing a lot of things in their life. And then you add into the mix sleep deprivation from hot flushes and night sweats, unexplained waves of anxiety, lack of confidence [and] vaginal dryness so you don’t want to have sex with your partner because it hurts.

“A whole lot of these symptoms are treatable. But you’re not being treated, and that really impairs your quality of life,” Davis said.

According to Davis in some cases, hormone therapy is inappropriately prescribed when other treatments such as lowering blood pressure and correcting cholesterol would be more appropriate.

However, many ineffective therapies are advised as a result of persisting misinformation around menopausal hormone therapy, which is a medication that contains Oestrogen (also known as estrogen), progesterone and sometimes testosterone used to manage the symptoms of menopause, she added.

“On the wave of the fear factor [around MHT] came all the people who said you can take all these alternative herbs and spices and things that are going to make you better with no foundation. But because women were symptomatic and fearful of hormone therapy, if you’ve got terrible symptoms, you will take what you can get,” Davis stated.

The study revealed that non-hormonal interventions supported by evidence are available for managing menopausal symptoms. However, the most effective approach for alleviating troublesome menopausal symptoms is evidence-based menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), which can reduce bone loss and potentially offer cardio-metabolic advantages.

While only 30% of women experiencing menopause will encounter moderate to severe symptoms, Davis emphasized that subtle changes, like declining bone density, often occur silently in the body. 

He encouraged all individuals going through menopause to undergo a comprehensive health assessment because optimizing health during this period serves as the gateway to healthy aging for women.

Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

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