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Women Have Been Misled About Menopause

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The WHI trial measured the most life-threatening consequences, including breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots. But women who are steadily losing hair, who have joint pain, who suddenly find themselves smelling different (and not better), or who are depressed or exhausted. For many of these women, the net benefit of taking hormones is that they experience an improvement in their quality of life on a daily basis, even after age 60, without the increased risks associated with hormone therapy. Hormones make sense, even for women like me whose symptoms are less dramatic but at lower risk. It’s not,” Rubin says.

Conversations about menopause lack, among many other things, the language to help us make these choices. Some women endure. It’s postpartum depression. Some women have menstruation every month without much fluctuation. Others suffer from what is called premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or in more severe cases premenstrual dysphoric disorder, where they experience mood changes that disrupt daily functioning. has no symptoms even in menopause. Others suffer from near-systemic breakdowns, such as brain fog, recurrent hot flashes, and fatigue. Menopause — a baggy term — is too big, too definitive, confusing and especially hard to talk about.

no symptoms Hot flashes are more closely related to menopause than hot flashes. This phenomenon often becomes a comedic trope. A middle-aged woman furiously waves her fan in her face and throws ice cubes at her shirt. Hot flashes are present in 70-80% of women, but they are as mysterious to researchers as women experiencing hot flashes. Scientists are now trying to figure out whether hot flashes are just a symptom or cause other changes in the body.

Oddly enough, the scorching heat that a woman feels roaring is not reflected in a significant increase in her core body temperature. occurs in the hypothalamus, an area of ​​the brain rich in estrogen receptors that A hypothalamus deprived of estrogen and having an unstable thermostat is likely to misinterpret a slight increase in core body temperature as being too hot, causing the body to sweat profusely in an attempt to cool itself down, causing blood vessels to dilate extensively. This also raises skin temperature. Some women experience these misfires she has once a day, while others have 10 or more, each lasting a few seconds to her 5 minutes. On average, a woman experiences them for 7-10 years.

What hot flashes mean for women’s health is one of the main questions Rebecca Thurston, director of the Institute for Women’s Biobehavioral Health at the University of Pittsburgh, has attempted to answer. led a study that tracked a diverse cohort of women with cancer and found that about 25% of them were what she called superflusher. For most women, hot flashes are an irritating but short-lived inconvenience.Among the five racial and ethnic groups Thurston surveyed for her, black women experience hot flashes the most and the most troublesome. Yes, and found to be the longest lasting. In addition to race, lower socioeconomic status was associated with the duration of hot flashes in women, which may influence physical menopausal management, even years later. was suggested.experienced woman Childhood abuse was 70% more likely to report night sweats and hot flashes.

Are these symptoms also a sign of harm beyond their impact on women’s quality of life? A study in the journal Stroke Women with more hot flashes (at least four times a day) tend to have more signs of cardiovascular disease. The association was even stronger than the association between cardiovascular risk and obesity or between cardiovascular risk and hypertension.”I don’t know if it’s causal or in which direction,” she warned Thurston. To do. More research is needed. “Hot flashes may accelerate physical harm in some women, but not others,” Thurston told me. She says it should encourage you to look more closely at

When Thurston was looking into the effects of hot flashes on vascular health, Pauline Maki, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, had established a link between hot flashes and the mild cognitive changes of menopause. Maki had already found a clear correlation between the number of hot flashes in women and their memory. Maki and Thurston wondered if they could detect a physical representation of that association in the brain. Hot flashes and signs of injury in sleep in women into small blood vessels in the brain. At his lab in Pittsburgh, where he is equipped with one of the most powerful MRI machines in the world, Thurston showed me images of a brain with tiny lesions represented as white dots. Both their number and their arrangement were different in women with a lot of hot flashes.

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