Menopause beware: New study shows DHEA hormone pill could replace Hormone Replacement Therapy to help manage symptoms; ‘Hot Flash Havoc’ executive director Heidi Houston on the importance of educating women on menopause
Menopause may not mean the end of the world as you know it, after all. Great news for women!
New research shows that a pill filled with DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a hormone found in the body that peaks around the age of 25, may help women through menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. The best part is, it’s also shown to rev up your sex life, too! Doctors hope DHEA could eventually serve as an alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for menopausal problems. HRT has fallen out of favor with many women after at least one study has shown found higher rates of ovarian cancer, breast cancer and strokes in women who used the treatment.
But the Italian researchers who conducted the study, published in the journal of the International Menopause Society, Climacteric, said larger studies are needed to confirm the results.
“We must bear in mind that this is a pilot study with a small sample,” wrote Anna Fenton, co-editor of Climacteric. “We can’t yet say that this study means that DHEA is a viable alternative to HRT, but … we should be looking to do larger studies to confirm these initial results.”
Pill or not, there are effective ways to cope with menopause and its symptoms.
“Working on yourself and your own personal growth, and knowing your body and being prepared for perimenopause and menopause, will help ease the super tense dynamics that can develop with the people closest to you,” says Ellen Sarver Dolgen, menopause expert and author of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, a cut-to-the-chase book filled with crucial information and hilarious and heartfelt stories about perimenopause and menopause.
“We need to educate women about menopause, what their options are and understand the questions they can ask,” especially when many doctors these days don’t give you much time to talk during visits, Houston says. Questions such as sexual dysfunction, for example – which can be a symptom of menopause – “that takes longer than 15 minutes” to talk about thoroughly with your doctor, Houston adds.
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