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How to best treat the unpleasant symptoms of menopause

Rating

2 Star

How to best treat the unpleasant symptoms of menopause

Our Review Summary

This story has several important limitations and conflates a number of different issues in a potentially confusing way. It fails to mention that the new findings on estrogen apply only to women who have had hysterectomy—some 200,000 women in 2000, according to the North American Menopause Society. The majority of women—about 1.8 million in 2000—go through menopause naturally, with their uterus intact. Many of them will not have “unpleasant” symptoms, and so may have no reason to face the question about hormones. If they do, their main hormone option is to take progesterone along with estrogen—not estrogen alone. The piece also does not mention that estrogen-only therapy also increases the risk of stroke and blood clots, which are rare but important side effects. The story is further confusing by mixing quotes that refer to the old hormone paradigm, which suggested a since disproven heart benefit with long-term hormone use, and the new paradigm of short-term hormone use only to manage symptoms.

Criteria

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

Study population not defined, which in this case is important since most women going through menopause still have their uterus and so would not be able to take estrogen alone.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

The story states that more than 50 million American women will be going through menopause in 2006. Based on 2000 census data, the North American Menopause Society estimated that 1.8 million women will reach menopause during 2000; and that about 260,000 will undergo surgical menopause–the only population to whom this study applies.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

No mention of alternatives.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

No evidence that this story relied solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 4 of 10 Satisfactory

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