Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is menopause?
Menopause is one point in time. It means the end of natural childbearing.Back to top
Am I in menopause?
When talking about "menopause", reference is often made to menopause symptoms, although menopause is scientifically defined as the end of natural childbearing. Experiencing menopause symptoms may mean that a woman has not yet reached menopause, but it may also indicate, that a woman is already past menopause and therefore in postmenopause.
One way to find out is to test for elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), since FSH levels remain consistently high after menopause has been reached. Another way of finding out is waiting for missed periods, which, if continually absent for one year, is usually considered a confirmation of menopause.
Common menopause symptoms:
While this list is not complete, these are some of the more common symptoms that one can expect to experience.Back to top
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)?
Hormone replacement therapy refers to the combination of estrogen and progestin that is given to menopausal/postmenopausal women to help combat the effects of menopause. Additionally, HRT has been thought to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.Back to top
What is the current situation regarding hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
In 1993, the National Institute for Health (NIH) began recruitment for a study that was meant to definitively answer questions relating to HRT. HRT had, for decades, been viewed as a positive thing for women, a "fountain of youth" of sorts; however, the true effects had never been studied on a large scale.
The study, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), would have a specific HRT trial involving 16,000 postmenopausal women who would receive either a placebo or a specific HRT program. The study was ended approximately 3 years early as data coming in from the study indicated some alarming trends. The researchers found that the women who were placed on HRT had a 26% increase in the risk of breast cancer, 41% increase in strokes, 100% increase in venous thromboembolic events (blockage of blood vessels) and a 29% increase in heart attacks.
As a result of the aforementioned findings, the researchers decided to immediately end the HRT portion of the study and announced their findings to the public so that medical professionals could act appropriately.
While these numbers may seem alarming, they must be taken in context. For example, the increase in risk for the development of breast cancer equates to approximately 1 additional case per 1,000 women per year. There are still many women who will continue to remain on HRT in spite of the increased risk, feeling that the benefit provided is greater than the risk posed.
Of course, be sure to speak with your health care professional before making any medical decisions. HRT is not appropriate for everyone. Decisions should only be made on a case-by-case basis as each woman's body is different.Back to top
What are some natural alternatives to HRT?
There are many natural routes to achieving benefits similar to HRT. Some of the more popular herbal remedies include black cohosh, soy, ginseng and valerian (among others). These herbs, taken in combination can work to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
Black cohosh, is used primarily as a treatment for hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. While it is not known precisely how it works, it is believed that the herb helps to suppress luteinizing hormone (LH), similarly to how estrogen works naturally in the body. As estrogen levels drop with the onset of menopause, the effects of LH increase. In a German study, researchers found that after 6-8 weeks of treatment with black cohosh 80% of women reported beneficial effects.Back to top
What can the CARE Menopause Test tell me?
The CARE Menopause Test measures the level of FSH hormone in your urine. FSH levels normally fluctuate with your monthly cycle, however, during menopause they rise quickly to levels not normally reached and stay there. By taking 2 CARE Menopause Tests you can determine if your FSH level is elevated over a period of time. This can tell you whether or not you have made the transition into menopause.Back to top
How do I take the CARE Menopause Test?
The CARE Menopause Test is taken in a similar fashion to a pregnancy test. The test stick is placed directly in your urine for 15 seconds. After that, one or two lines may develop. For a more detailed overview of how to perform the test, see our Instructions section.Back to top
How does the CARE Menopause Test work?
The CARE Menopause Test works by measuring the level of FSH in your urine. How this is accomplished is covered in our section called Test Principles.Back to top
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