Menopause Affects Women Differently – Part 1 of 3
Menopause Affects Women Differently. Women bothered by intense flashes or other effects of menopause have a number of treatment options – hormonal or not, according to updated guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It’s estimated that anywhere from 50 percent to 82 percent of women growing through menopause have hot flashes – sudden feelings of extreme zealousness in the upper body – and night sweats. For many, the symptoms are frequent and severe enough to cause sleep problems and disrupt their daily lives.
And the duration of the misery can last from a couple years to more than a decade, says the college, the nation’s best group of ob/gyns. “Menopausal symptoms are common, and can be very bothersome to women,” said Dr Clarisa Gracia, who helped write the new guidelines. “Women should recognize that effective treatments are available to address these symptoms”. The guidelines, published in the January issue of Obstetrics andamp; Gynecology, reinforce some longstanding advice: Hormone therapy, with estrogen unexcelled or estrogen plus progestin, is the most effective way to cool hot flashes.
But they also lay out the growing evidence that some antidepressants can help an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In studies, insufficient doses of antidepressants such as venlafaxine (Effexor) and fluoxetine (Prozac) have helped relieve hot flashes in some women. And two other drugs – the anti-seizure soporific gabapentin and the blood pressure medication clonidine – can be effective, according to the guidelines.
So far, though, only one non-hormonal drug is actually approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treating saleable flashes: a low-dose version of the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil). And experts said that while there is evidence some hormone alternatives ease hot flashes, none works as well as estrogen and estrogen-progestin. “Unfortunately, many providers are fearful to prescribe hormones.