Time to Rethink Hormone Therapy Options for Menopausal Women

Women’s Health Advocate Dr. Vivien Brown Advises

World Menopause Day is October 18th

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Oct. 17, 2012) – World Menopause Day is a time to create awareness among perimenopausal and menopausal women about hormone therapy options and talk to their family physicians about says Dr. Vivien Brown, a family doctor and Vice-President Medical Affairs for Medisys Health Group.

A recent study conducted by KEEPS (Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study) indicates that Hormone Therapy started soon after menopause appears safe and relieves many of the symptoms menopausal women face.

“This will be a welcome change and relief for many menopausal women and their doctor,” added Dr. Brown, who is also Chair of the Consumer Education Committee for the North American Menopause Society Group (NAMS).

This clarifies a controversial Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2002, which concluded that hormone therapy was no longer recommended for disease prevention for menopausal women. However, a decade of research and analysis has shown that the 2002 WHI report did not apply to all menopausal women and that hormone therapy is an acceptable option for the relatively young (up to age 59 or within ten years of menopause) and healthy women who are bothered by moderate to severe menopausal symptoms.

“A great deal has been learned in the last ten years,” says Dr. Brown. “Dosages are now lower and there are newer ways of delivering treatment such as through a patch or gel. Too many women have been missing out on the proven benefits of hormone therapy because of the WHI study. Now they and their doctors will be able to more confidently assess whether hormone therapy is the best treatment option for their circumstances and menopausal stage.”

The 2002 findings caused a complete abandonment of hormone therapy in some settings for more than a decade, accompanied by reluctance by doctors to treat women who would benefit from relief of their symptoms.

Hormone therapy reduces symptoms that typically women affect perimenopausal and menopausal women such as hot flashes and night sweats. Benefits of hormone therapy for younger menopausal women may also include reduced risk of heart disease, depression and anxiety.

About Medisys Health Group (www.medisys.ca)

Medisys is a fully integrated national healthcare service that focuses on both corporate and personal needs. We use our medical knowledge and expertise to help companies get proactive about their employees’ health so that they can be their best at work and at home.

We offer a wide variety of services such as executive health assessments, pre-employment assessments and wellness programs, and any other services designed to meet your specific challenges. Imagine healthcare, only simpler!

Medisys offices are located in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver.

Flu shots are in!

The influenza vaccine or ‘flu shot’ is recommended yearly for ALL patients age 6 months and older by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s (NACI). Infants and toddlers have an especially high burden of illness and high risk for influenza complications so children five years and younger are especially encouraged to get the vaccine.

Egg allergy – it is still safe to have the flu shot if your allergic reaction to eggs is mild. That means if you have a mild gastrointestinal or mild local skin reaction, or if you can tolerate ingestion of small amounts of egg, you can still get a flu shot.

What is the seasonal flu? From The Public Health Agency of Canada:

Influenza, or the flu, is a common and highly contagious, infectious respiratory disease that affects the nose, throat and lungs. Influenza viruses can change rapidly. That’s why there is a new flu shot made every year to protect against the circulating virus strains.

SEASONAL FLU – SYMPTOMS

Almost always

  • Sudden onset of cough and fever

Sometimes

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Common

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Runny nose

Zostavax – The Shingle’s Vaccine

1 in every 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetime. The odds of developing this painful disease only increases with age, and so does the risk of the serious complications that can follow the disease, such as “post-herpetic neuralgia”. Zostavax is the first and only vaccine proven to prevent, or at least decrease the  severity of a shingles episode, as well as the risk of post-shingles complications.

Zostavax is indicated in all patients over the age of 50 years. Unfortunately, OHIP does not currently fund this vaccine, but many private insurance plans cover the one time cost. I highly recommend it to all my patients over the age of 50, and I personally couldn’t wait to take it myself!

Here is my 2-minute radio clip about Zostavax.

A focus on the birth control pill

Visit HealthChoicesFirst – Contraception for some short video segments in which I am discussing the birth control pill. These are posted on the HealthChoicesFirst website. These 2 minute videos answer more specific questions about the birth control pill, including:

What are Common vs. Rare Risks with the Pill?

Non-Contraceptive Benefits of the Pill

Risk Assessments with the Pill

The Pill as a Contraceptive Choice

Today’s Risks for the Birth Control Pill

Rare Risks with Birth Control Pills

Pill Talk With Your Doc

Check out our webcast – Pill Talk With Your Doc

 

Pill Talk With Your Doc is one of my most recent projects that takes advantage of social media in health education. In the webinar featured on the site, I explain the most recent guidelines on the risks and benefits of oral contraceptives from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC). These guidelines were given out to Canadian doctors by the SOGC and help set the standards by which doctors practice.

Pill Talk With Your Doc is a patient education initiative between physicians and medical students from across Canada, in collaboration with the Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC). This website is dedicated to presenting you with accurate, credible information to help you make an informed choice about your contraceptive options.

Hello and Welcome!

My name is Dr. Vivien Brown and I am a family physician in Toronto, Ontario. As the Toronto Branch President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, I am very active in efforts to raise awareness for women’s health. As VP of Medisys Health Group Inc, I am very interested in cutting edge options for health promotion.

My blog will bring up important issues in women’s health, health promotion, and disease prevention, as well as keep you up to date with new research and changes in recommendations and guidelines related to these topics. I hope that this blog will serve as a resource for both patients and physicians looking for a credible source on this important subject.