For many people, the uncomfortable dog days of summer last for a few short months, but for menopausal women with symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, it can feel like summer all year long.
Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s aging process when her ovaries stop producing estrogens. It can occur naturally or may be induced by surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Since estrogens are largely responsible for developing and maintaining the female reproductive system, reduced levels can cause uncomfortable symptoms called vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats).
“I knew one day I would go through ‘the change,’ but I didn’t think the symptoms would be so dramatic. I never knew when a hot flash was going to hit me. I had hot flashes all day at work and night sweats woke me up several times during the night. I knew I needed help and I talked to my doctor about my options,” said Janet Sussman, real estate agent and mother of three from New Albany, Ohio.
Although the majority of women experience “natural” or spontaneous menopause, some women may experience “induced” menopause due to medical interventions such as hysterectomy, chemotherapy or radiation. A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and sometimes cervix. If both ovaries are removed along with the uterus (bilateral oophorectomy surgery), a woman will experience menopause, regardless of her age.
Menopause caused by hysterectomy can cause the same symptoms as natural menopause, including night sweats and hot flashes. It is believed that the faster a woman goes through the transition from regular menstrual periods to no periods, the more significant her hot flashes will be. Some women experience severe hot flashes that interfere with their ability to function.
Now there is good news for the 52 million women approaching menopause. A new FDA-approved oral estrogen therapy called ENJUVIA™ (synthetic conjugated estrogens, B) is now available for the treatment of moderate-to-severe vasomotor symptoms. It is synthesized from plants and uses a unique delivery system that allows for the slow release of estrogens into the bloodstream over several hours.
The FDA and professional organizations including the North American Menopause Society recommend using hormone therapies at the lowest dose, for the shortest time period, if the benefits outweigh the risks, which include myocardial infarction, stroke, invasive breast cancer, pulmonary emboli and deep vein thrombosis.
David Portman, M.D., founder of the Columbus Center for Women’s Health Research, explains, “Given that millions of women will be entering menopause every year and with one-third of those women experiencing a hysterectomy by age 60, there is a stronger need than ever for advanced technology to provide effective relief from vasomotor symptoms at lower doses.”
Important health information you should know when taking estrogens like ENJUVIA:
Estrogens increase the risk for cancer of the uterus (womb). If you experience persistent or recurring vaginal bleeding while taking estrogens, let your doctor know right away, as this could be a warning sign for cancer. Your doctor should check for the cause of any unusual vaginal bleeding after menopause.
Estrogens (alone or in combination with progestins) should not be used to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes or dementia.
Estrogens (alone or in combination with progestins) may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and blood clots. Estrogens with progestins may increase your risk of dementia. Because of these risks, estrogens should be used at the lowest dose possible for the shortest time possible. You and your doctor should talk regularly to determine whether you still need treatment with ENJUVIA.
What are the common side effects with ENJUVIA?
You may experience headache, breast pain, irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting, stomach/ abdominal cramps and bloating, nausea and vomiting, or hair loss.
Who should not use ENJUVIA?
Do not use ENJUVIA if you:
• may be pregnant
• have unusual vaginal bleeding
• have a history of certain cancers, blood clots or liver problems
• have had a stroke or heart attack in the past year
• are allergic to ENJUVIA or any of its ingredients.