Often referred to as the
“godfather of menopause”, Wulf Utian, a reproductive endocrinologist and
gynecologist, started the world’s first center dedicated to menopause research
in Cape Town, South Africa, co-founded the International Menopause Society
(IMS), and founded both The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and the
Council of Affiliated Menopause Societies (CAMS), all multidisciplinary
scientific organizations. He is an academic medical scientist with a PhD and a
DSc, but he has also been a personal clinician. He is a husband, father, and
He is Professor Emeritus of
Reproductive Biology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Case Western Reserve
University in Cleveland, Ohio. As a practicing physician with over 40 years
experience, he worked with thousands of women to help them enhance their
quality of life. As an active clinical scientist he has published hundreds of
research papers and commentaries. He has been a lecturer and teacher worldwide,
and is sought after by the international media, academic centers, women’s
groups, and the pharmaceutical industry, for authoritative opinion. His current
views are summarized in his latest book for women – CHANGE YOUR MENOPAUSE – Why one size
does not fit all. http://www.amazon.com/Change-Your-Menopause-size-does/dp/0982845723/
Now he draws on that considerable scientific knowledge and vast
clinical experience to provide the real facts about menopause and how it
represents the ideal opportunity to take control and enhance the quality of the
second half of life.
WHAT THIS BLOG WILL BE ABOUT AND WHY BY A MAN
The word Menopause is pervasive – used freely in open discussion, the media,
musicals, movies, major marketing of all sorts of purported remedies and scams,
websites, tweets, Facebook entries, and on and on – and yet despite all that it
is still largely misunderstood. Moreover, the medical therapies to relieve
symptoms remain a source of major confusion, not only amongst women but also
with so many of the physicians, nurse clinicians, and other health providers
serving this population.
I am often asked what a man can
possibly know about menopause. That is a very fair question. Most men know
little and are not too empathetic about “the whole thing.” My interest started
at age 25 when as a young physician seeking an academic career in gynecology I
was intrigued by the iniquitous practice of removing ovaries from reproductive
aged women at the time of hysterectomy. Those were the days when women stayed
in a hospital for a week or more after surgery and I was concerned by the
unexplained rapid onset of hot flashes that they developed. I completed a PhD
on the physical and biological effects of that procedure, (The clinical and metabolic
effects of oophorectomy and the role of replacement of exogenous estrogen
therapy, University of Cape Town, 1970), and over the next 40 plus years experienced the menopause transition, the positive
and the negative, with literally thousands of women. That experience, combined
with my research, teaching, and public speaking with women’s groups, must count
in favor of a “man in menopause.”
A friend of mine complained recently that
television, the press, and magazines were full of articles or comments about
estrogens and menopause, but that the more she read the less she knew or
understood. This seemed most unfortunate, as the subject is one of such direct
importance to every woman.
Many good books exist explaining
the history and reasons for either the overselling of medications or the
under-provision of health care to women traversing the menopause and beyond.
Another recapitulation of this old history is not necessary, and is not an
objective of mine. Unfortunately, there are also many bad books, some written
by celebrities capitalizing on their fame, but providing misleading and often
dangerous information. My prime objective will be to present the current state
of the art in clear and unambiguous terms. Where facts are known, I will
present them. Nonetheless, when explaining an issue, if a scientific study has
flaws, I will not hesitate to expose them. If we don’t have an answer at the
present time, I will say so, but at least also give you the options and the
pros and cons.
In other words, this blog will be
a concise explanation of the current facts based on the latest research, and
written by an author with the credentials and authority to do so. Within these
blogs, you will find all the facts about menopause. Hopefully, you will take
the facts to heart and heed the advice.
My challenge will be to provide
straightforward explanatory items that are scientifically accurate yet will be easy
to read and understand. I therefore stand responsible for the decision to
present the facts in clear-cut language uncluttered by references. I do promise
that all recommendations will be scientifically substantiated.
Just a few important reader advisories:
Technical and medical
terms will usually be explained at that point.
Sometimes for those
readers who want more detail, I may present more information than most want or
feel they need to know. I will present that extra detail in a smaller print size.
“around menopause,” and so is not separated from “menopause’
Instead of utilizing or
referring to the term “health provider” (a term I hate because of the
impersonal relationship it connotes), and in the absence of a good collective term
for the doctor, nurse clinician, or other trained professionals working with
women through and beyond menopause, I will use the term Clinician to apply to
any or all of these professionals. For the purpose of editorial consistency and
simplicity, the pronoun “she” will be used when referring to the
The blog will not be a
pharmaceutical do-it-yourself kit. In other words, where medications and
medical care are necessary, don’t try any shortcuts. Women should be advised to
see their clinicians.
· Menopause and hormone therapy are not synonymous – indeed HT is but a small component of comprehensive
menopause management. I will address all issues relating to women’s health
through and beyond menopause.
In the long run, each of us must
take responsibility for the quality of our own lives and the health care we
provide and that we receive. Whether you are a woman already approaching
midlife or beyond menopause, the purpose of this blog is to give you insight
into menopause and older women’s health, and the potential therapies, including
hormones. Then you can meaningfully discuss health issues with your patients. I
will also discuss potential therapies for those who need them, including
hormones. If the blog helps in
this vital area of decision-making, leading to enhanced quality of life, it
will have amply achieved its purpose.
Finally, I hope we can start a
conversation. If there are subjects you want discussed, just tell me. If you
take issue with anything I blog, respond and let me know.
Next week we will jump right in to
the entire subject of “Menopause”.