A comprehensive new paper published by a UVA Health expert and collaborators sheds light on the profound effects that menopause can have on women’s lives, health, workplaces, and finances. The review provides a holistic understanding of menopause and highlights the need for further research in this area.
Menopause, also known as the “change of life,” is a natural biological process that all women experience. However, the paper reveals that less than 15% of women receive effective, individualized, evidence-based treatment for their symptoms, which include irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood changes, sleep disruptions, and brain fog.
The research suggests that moderate to severe menopause symptoms can decrease a woman’s ability to perform work tasks and negatively impact workplace outcomes, particularly for Black and Hispanic women. This reduction in work productivity also affects subgroups of women who are single, smoke, are overweight or obese, serve as caregivers, or lack secure housing.
Furthermore, struggling with menopause symptoms has been linked to financial problems, depression, and self-reported health issues. However, the paper offers reassurance by presenting effective treatment options and outlining which treatments may be most suitable for different patient groups.
While complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) for menopausal symptoms are frequently advertised, the paper cautions against relying on them, as rigorous scientific studies have shown little efficacy. Plant-based estrogen supplements, such as phytoestrogen, have not demonstrated any benefits in numerous trials. Although black cohosh, another dietary supplement, is considered safe, its effectiveness is limited.
JoAnn V. Pinkerton, MD, one of the co-authors of the paper, hopes that this comprehensive review will help women and their physicians distinguish between fact and fiction surrounding menopause. By optimizing health during menopause, women can pave the way for healthy aging. Pinkerton encourages menopausal women not to suffer in silence and urges them to seek help from menopause specialists who are available to support them during this stage of life.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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