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 grandfather.
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.
- Perimenopause means “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 “clinician.”
- 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”.