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Gend Med. 2009;6 Suppl 1:37-59. doi: 10.1016/j.genm.2009.02.001.

Impact of hormone therapy for women aged 35 to 65 years, from contraception to hormone replacement.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10026-6574, USA.



Midlife women (aged 35-65 years) present a complex combination of clinical challenges and health care opportunities. To meet these issues effectively, recognition of the various phases of the entire menopausal transition is necessary, because each possesses unique biological properties underlying phase-specific clinical presentations.


The aim of this article is to inform health care decisions by defining the endocrine, metabolic, and clinical consequences of therapeutic inaction or intervention at each stage of the midlife experience.


Using PubMed, MEDLINE was searched for age- and phase-specific publications about ovarian function and corresponding clinical manifestations in women aged 35 to 65 years. Large, long-term longitudinal prospective, case-control, and observational studies were selected for inclusion. Results of the Framingham Heart Study, Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, Nurses' Health Study (NHS), and Women's Health Initiative (WHI), as well as materials from the World Health Organization and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, were obtained from the relevant groups' Web sites in 2008.


Synthesis of the data acquired, particularly the confirmatory and contrasting elements displayed in the WHI and NHS publications, leads to a set of guiding principles whereby individualized phase-specific management strategies may be safely employed. These include the value of weight control and exercise; use of specific nonhormonal therapies for defined indications; definition of strict inclusion/exclusion criteria; and individualization of timing, regimen, dosage, and portal of entry for possible hormone therapy.


An evidence-based, restrictive inclusion/exclusion strategy can be used to maximize benefits and minimize risks for this large, growing, and health-conscious but increasingly vulnerable population.

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