Myths About Menopause
Author : n/a - Subject : Health
Menopause, which signals the end of a woman's childbearing years, is a normal stage in women's lives. Women report a range of experiences, depending on their individual circumstances. Many women experience little discomfort; a few actually require medical treatment.
What You Should Know
Here are some common myths about menopause, followed by the facts.
Myth: Menopause is always a highly stressful and upsetting illness that causes suffering and requires medical treatment.
Fact: This is untrue for many women. Menopause usually occurs around age 50 in American women. Many might experience changes in their menstrual cycles for a few years before that. Irregular periods and heavy bleeding may occur during this time of change; "hot flashes" are the most common complaint. Hot flashes are a response to the change from higher to lower levels of estrogen in the body. Research shows that about three-quarters of women going through natural menopause have mild or significant hot flashes, which usually go away in a year or two. Night sweats and mild insomnia might also occur. Other physical changes that happen at the same time are not necessarily part of menopause and should be evaluated by a health care practitioner.
The bottom line:
Menopause is a normal stage in women's lives. Many women experience little discomfort.
Myth: Menopause causes depression and anxiety.
Fact: Menopause does not cause mental health problems. Some studies that have tracked women for several years before, during, and after menopause have found that depression does not occur more often during menopause. Other events that might occur during midlife, such as divorce, the death of a spouse or parent, children leaving home, and parents needing care, might be stressful and cause some women to become depressed. Negative social attitudes toward aging women also might contribute to feelings of loss and depression.
Myth: Menopause is an estrogen-deficiency disease.
Fact: This is no more accurate than saying young girls have an estrogen deficiency disease before puberty. After childbearing is no longer possible, women do make less estrogen, but that amount is usually enough for this new stage of life. In most women, the body adjusts to the new levels, usually within a year or two.
For More Information:
The National Women's Health Information Center
The National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC), a free government information and resource service on women's health issues, is designed for consumers, health care professionals, educators, and students. The center is a project of the Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The center's telephone number is 1-800-994-WOMAN. The Web site includes a fact sheet on frequently asked questions about Hormone Replacement Therapy.
The National Women's Health Resource Center
The National Women's Health Resource Center is a nonprofit national clearinghouse for women's health information. Its Web site includes a fact sheet on midlife health, menopause, and hormone therapy. The center's newsletter, the National Women's Health Report: Women's Health After Menopause, discusses issues related to postmenopausal health and is available free of charge by calling 1-877-764-3258.
The North American Menopause Society
The North American Menopause Society is a nonprofit, scientific organization dedicated to improving women's health through midlife and beyond by promoting the understanding of menopause. Its Web site offers the full text of its 50-page Menopause Guidebook, a suggested reading list, the latest scientific news, and a list of menopause clinicians and discussion groups throughout the U.S.
The Hormone Foundation
The Hormone Foundation has made one of its goals providing women of all ethnic and economic backgrounds with accurate and accessible information on issues about their health. Managing Menopause: A Change for the Better can be ordered or downloaded from the organization's Web site.
BlackWomensHealth.com is a company whose goal is to become the premier Internet site dedicated to promoting the physical, mental, and spiritual wellness of today's African American woman. The site includes fact sheets on HRT and menopause.
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