Menopause Symptoms Can Be Serious But Many Doctors May Not Take It Seriously
are exchanging recipes for herbs to cool down hot flashes
and talking with friends about how to deal with emotional
mood swings, mental lapses, night sweats, insomnia and possible
bone loss - all common symptoms of menopause.
may be talking to each other, but a survey of menopausal women
finds that many women aren't talking about these symptoms
with their doctors.
are not always certain what to expect from menopause and when
they do try to ask for guidance, doctors often trivialize
symptoms and leave decisions about treatment up to their patients.
The J.D. Power and Associates survey, commissioned by the
National Consumers League (NCL), surveyed more than 800 women
who were not currently taking hormone therapy. According to
the survey's findings, nearly one-third of the women
said they're not discussing their symptoms with doctors.
that, as the severity of menopausal symptoms increases, satisfaction
levels with doctor-patient relationship decreases. The
survey also found that the severity of symptoms made a difference
in the impact on daily life and the relationships that women
were able to maintain with their doctors and families.
who answered the survey reported that the perceived physical,
emotional, and personal impact of symptoms increased along
with their severity.
Up The Confusion
In the past, doctors would just recommend Hormone Replacement
Therapy (HRT) as the usual way to stop symptoms. Menopause
is the result of a woman's body producing less estrogen as
her childbearing years draw to a close. HRT replaced the naturally
Soon a major study of the benefits of HRT was discontinued when
it became clear that there was a very high risk of breast
cancer and other negative outcomes associated with this treament.
say they need help, but telling them to talk to their doctors
is obviously not enough. Many menopausal women don't
even understand what they are going through, so beginning
conversations with their doctors about symptoms is impossible, says Linda F. Golodner, NCL president.
Most women want more information about menopause to improve
the quality of dialogue with their doctors.
one-third of the women surveyed indicate they are not talking
with their doctors about their symptoms.
one-third (32 percent) say that doctors tend to trivialize
menopausal symptoms, and 43 percent of doctors agree.
doctors also report that they don't understand exactly
what women go through during menopause.
than 80 percent of doctors say that, in general, doctors
don't know everything about menopause.
than three-quarters of women (76 percent) say menopause-related
treatment decisions should be a collaborative effort between
a woman and her doctor.
two-thirds of the women surveyed (65 percent) say treatment-related
decisions are left up to them.
Women of different ages and ethnicities experience menopause
Women between the ages of 45 and 49 were more likely to
report severe symptoms than older women (between the ages
of 50 and 59).
(44 percent) and Hispanic (56 percent) women say they are
very concerned about bone loss (osteoporosis)
as compared to other women.
Hispanic women were more likely than other women
to report that menopausal symptoms negatively affect their
Asian women are less likely to report night sweats,
and more likely to report vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.
Based on reports from respondents, women's menopausal
symptom experiences can be classified into three categories
Seventeen percent report severe symptoms, which
greatly impact their daily lives: 43 percent of women in
this category say their symptoms put a strain on their relationships
with family and friends; 60 percent report that they feel
moody, irritable, and are subject to crying; and 74 percent
report decreased sex drive.
Thirty-four percent report moderate symptoms,
which impact their daily lives: 40 percent report that they
feel moody, irritable, and are subject to crying; and 48
percent report decreased sex drive.
Forty-nine percent report mild symptoms: their
symptoms have only a slight impact on their daily lives,
but the majority (61 percent) say they experience hot flashes.
While women who report mild symptoms say they are satisfied
with their doctor's advice regarding menopause (88
percent), that reported satisfaction declines for women
with severe symptoms (67 percent).
National Consumers League - Newswise
More about menopause symptoms around the Web:
Severe menopause symptoms - Here's a good, general overview of the most severe symptoms including panic attacks, severe headaches, sleep deprivation, and risk of joint pain and osteoporosis. Also check out a wealth of related resources including medical and alternative treatments.