Fernando Botero - Pintor y escultor colombiano  (Medellín Colombia 1932)
   
Menopause  

  
The treatment of eternal youth against menopause [1] 


ANALYSIS: THE USE OF HORMONAL REPLACEMENT THERAPY DURING MENOPAUSE

 

 

Mónica Puga, homeopathic doctor, specialist in woman’s illnesses and psychoanalyst.

The author denounces in this article the pharmaceutics’ mercantile strategy to turn the physiological process of menopause into an illness. The Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT), which is being used to medicate lots of women, not only aims at suppressing the symptoms of menopause, but also at delaying the aging process: the promise of eternal youth implies, according to the specialist, serious risks for its receptors.

Menopause is a stage in women’s vital cycle characterized by the diminution first, and the cease later on, of the ovaries’ function. Ovaries stop “working”, which means they stop producing feminine hormones, estrogens and progesterone, as they have been doing during the whole productive life. The gradual absence of these hormones (when not related to traumatic or forced situations such as surgery, chemotherapies, or precocious menopauses) takes place in a period in which the body is logically and naturally ready for it to occur, therefore going through it slowly.

Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) consists in no other than substituting that gradual and normal absence of hormones for external ones for many years. In this way, the typical and bearable symptoms of menopause such as suffocations, sleep alterations, mood and skin changes, etc are delayed to the time the treatment is finished.

Visiting the doctor when healthy

Contrary to men, who go the doctor when being sick, women visit them during their lives when being healthy: in the gynecological examinations to carry out cytologies, mammary controls, contraceptive methods, pregnancies, deliveries, menopause, etc.

Women are more dependent on doctors than men; they visit the doctor more often, consume more medicines, go into hospitals with a higher frequency and undergo more surgeries. Women are therefore, easy targets for the pharmaceutical industry enrichment. With the HRT, the doctor offers not only the suppression of the presumable symptoms of menopause but also the illusion that aging will be delayed with the implicit promise of eternal youth and the possibility to reach the so desired happiness.

The consumption of anxiolytics and antidepressants is very high during menopause. The medication is given not only because of a request from anguished women who don’t know what’s happening to them, but also for the doctor’s absolute lack of capacity to listen to the patient with the consequent impossibility to understand the vital phenomenon the woman is going through. That is to say, medication is indicated in order not to listen: the anguish is hidden by the medication instead of referring those patients to competent professionals from the psychological field who can help.

The medical profession may become the major threat against health. It is already known that under the excuse of prevention, many healthy people are medicated to “avoid future potential disorders”. This is what has been happening recently with the use of HRT in developed countries, with the sudden increase of breast and uterus cancer in women receiving hormones from these therapies. The ones to blame for these complications are no others than the doctors who indicate those treatments indiscriminately. Doctors are to know the effects of estrogens on the mammary gland and the uterine endometrium capable of producing cancer on these tissues, especially during menopause when these tissues should stay stunted or, at least, rested.

Science feels uncomfortable with women’s mental and emotional moody cycles. These changes make the strict and rigorous logic of science uncomfortable, which would prefer to reduce everything to a virus or a serotonin increase. But that’s not so, and feminine vital cycles must be respected instead of being used in favor of promoting inexistent illness with a mercantile purpose. The promotion of illness has become a wide market among women along the years and the intromission of medicine into natural and physiological processes such as menopause opens a gap for medication to be given to thousands of women implying serious risks to them.

The capacity to diagnose and label health and illness, which has always been in the medicine’s hands, has turned into a business, pushed by the pharmaceutical industry and its techniques to provide professionals with direct finance, sponsoring research or scientific committees which may “redefine” the illness, let alone include “indispensable” medicines to stay healthy.

Asking them

 
Health as well as illness, are processes in which the personal biography intervenes: the past (lived experiences, the antecedents of the family, education, culture, etc.), the project for life (the way we see ourselves in the future, expectations, fear to illness, poverty, incapacity, etc.), the way we live daily (attitude, stress, alimentation, physical exercise) as well as our relationships with others.

Except when the prescription is medically accurate, such as in the case of precocious menopause (no matter why), we as doctors, need to ask our patients the reason for requesting hormones in that moment of their lives. Those reasons should be analyzed together, provide them with information about the risks HRT involves in the medium and long run and give them more natural alternatives to help them undergo this period improving the symptoms. Consequently, avoid indicating hormonal therapy during menopause when there isn’t any pathology or when menopause is developing naturally.
 

 


[1] Paper published in the magazine "Diagonal", Barcelona, Spring  2007
 


 

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