A response to the cancelled Women's Health Initiative study and call for a healthier look at menopause
Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, has never advocated the use of hormones as an ongoing "replacement" for menopause. She does not feel that menopause is a medical condition that needs to be "fixed". Rather it is a normal stage of life. She strongly advocates use of new term for the few women who do need therapy in menopause. The new term is: Ovarian Hormone Therapy. Dr. Prior says there are only three main reasons for recommending OHT for a menopausal woman:
- if a woman is experiencing early menopause (<40 or <45 with hot flushes or low bone density);
- hot flushes are disturbing, especially when they interfere with sleep;
- for treatment of osteoporosis especially in women with hot flushes.
For hot flushes progesterone, like estrogen, is effective. Dr. Prior also states OHT should only be taken longer than five years if menopause came too early. She has never advocated OHT for prevention of heart disease. Dr. Prior believes menopause is a normal part of a woman's life cycle. It is not, in general, something that needs medical "treatment." She prefers the term "ovarian hormone therapy" because it more correctly describes treatment for those who need it. Some women do have sufficiently disturbing hot flushes or osteoporosis that short term treatment is appropriate.
Be sure to read Dr. Prior's article "Estrogen Deficiency: The Wrong Idea About Menopause" also found on this site. Click here for more detailed information about the early curtailment of the WHI study and Dr. Prior's thoughts on when and why to use ovarian hormone therapy.