Individualizing Hormone Therapy to Minimize Risk

Accurate Assessment of Risks and Benefits

Donna Shoupe


Women's Health. 2011;7(4):475-485. 

In This Article

Understanding Menopause & the Consequences of Hypoestrogenism

The transition from reproductive status to menopausal status is a result of a substantial reduction in hormone production by the ovaries. Generally this is not a sudden or abrupt transition but occurs over a period of years. The word menopause literally means cessation of monthly menses and it is a natural consequence of aging. There is a wide age range in which menopause can occur but for most it occurs in the late 40s or early 50s. For many women, the symptoms accompanying the menopausal transition and early menopausal years can significantly disrupt their daily activities and their sense of well-being. The loss of estrogen has profound effects on a variety of tissues including urogenital, skeletal, vascular, skin, soft tissue, cardiovascular and CNS (Box 2). Whether or not estrogen therapy can be used safely to prevent or slow these changes is an important underlying question addressed by this article.


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