Tally Abecassis and
Listen and follow The Daily
Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher
Menopausal hormone therapy was once the most commonly prescribed treatment in the United States. In the late 1990s, some 15 million women a year were receiving a prescription for it. But in 2002, a single study, its design imperfect, found links between hormone therapy and elevated health risks for women of all ages. Panic set in; in one year, the number of prescriptions plummeted.
Hormone therapy carries risks, to be sure, as do many medications that people take to relieve serious discomfort, but dozens of studies since 2002 have provided reassurance that for healthy women under 60 whose hot flashes are troubling them, the benefits of taking hormones outweigh the risks. The treatment’s reputation, however, has never fully recovered, and the consequences have been wide-reaching.
About 85 percent of women experience menopausal symptoms. Rebecca Thurston, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh who studies menopause, believes that, in general, menopausal women have been underserved — an oversight that she considers one of the great blind spots of medicine.
“It suggests that we have a high cultural tolerance for women’s suffering,” Thurston said. “It’s not regarded as important.”
There are a lot of ways to listen to ‘The Daily.’ Here’s how.
We want to hear from you. Tune in, and tell us what you think. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Michael Barbaro on Twitter: @mikiebarb. And if you’re interested in advertising with The Daily, write to us at email@example.com.
Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Emma Kehlbeck, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Elena Hecht, Desiree Ibekwe, Tanya Pérez, Marion Lozano, Naomi Noury, Krish Seenivasan, Corey Schreppel, Margaret Willison, Kate Winslett and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Mike Benoist, Sam Dolnick, Laura Kim, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Blake Wilson and Ryan Wegner.