A weekly look at menopause and related issues in the news …

“Menopause The Musical” has posted early closing notices in London, according to WhatsOnStage.com. The 90-minute musical aimed at baby boomers made its debut in Orlando, Fla. in 2001 and has played to sell-out audiences around the United States. It opened in London in April of this year and was initially booked to run through August but instead will close July 14.

“Many publications, understandably, sent women to review this American import, but producers are probably wishing they hadn’t,” reports WhatsOnStage.com. “Most male critics were far kinder than their female counterparts who found it, to varying degrees, patronising, sexist and insulting in its depiction of women.”

Here’s a round-up of London reviews. You may recall that Germaine Greer wasn’t all that fond of it. Neither is WVFC’s own Patricia Yarberry Allen.

Time and Newsweek both look at the most recent study on hormone replacement therapy that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that women who have had hysterectomies may see some heart benefits if they take estrogen in their 50s. The study, however, does not apply to women who still have their uterus, as estrogen alone can cause uterine cancer.

“Taking estrogen pills is not completely without risk — even young women
face an increased chance of venous thrombo-embolism (potentially fatal
blood clots),” writes Pat Wingert of Newsweek. “But the lead author of the new study, Dr. JoAnn Manson, Harvard professor and chief of prevention medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said these results should be reassuring to women without ovaries and uteruses who want to use low-dose hormone therapy during their 40s and 50s to treat hot flashes and other symptoms.”

The spring issue of Terrain magazine, a publication of the Ecology Center of Berkeley, Calif., features stories that are critical of soy and how it has been marketed to menopausal women — including this story on the over-processing of soy and soy components and a Q&A with Kaayla T. Daniel, Ph.D., a certified clinical nutritionist who has been writing and speaking out against soy for years. Those interested in learning more about the debate may want to look through these letters written in response to a 2004 article Daniel wrote for Mothering magazine, where there’s some criticism of her research. (Via Utne, which excerpted the Terrain stories in its July/August issue. The issue also a good story about moving away from processed foods toward a whole food diet.)

Two articles in the June 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine note that the class of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be associated with an increased rate of bone loss in older women and men.

Menopausal women are more likely to suffer in silence over painful intercourse than consult with their doctors, according to a UK online survey. The results, though non-scientific, are not surprising. But what many women don’t realize is that relief is available. Ask Dr. Pat recently covered the treatment of a patient with this common complaint.


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