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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Aug;1204:169-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05526.x.

Reproductive aging, menopause, and health outcomes.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Divisions of Midlife, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


Changes in ovarian hormone production may affect numerous health outcomes including vasomotor symptoms, cardiovascular disease (CVD), osteoporosis, cognition, depression, mood disorders, sexual function, and vaginal atrophy. We will compare age-related changes to those associated with reproductive aging and menopause and the effects of estrogen therapy on selected health outcomes. Hormone therapy (HT) reduces frequency and severity of hot flashes, prevents bone loss and osteoporotic fractures, and relieves vaginal atrophy. Nonhormone therapy trials with antidepressants or gabapentin for hot flash relief are promising. To date, clinical trial data are insufficient to recommend the use of HT for prevention or treatment of CVD, mood disorders, cognition, or sleep disorders. For some disease states, such as CVD and cognition, a "critical time window" has been proposed but not proven, such that estrogen use early in the menopause transition may be beneficial while estrogen use later in life would lead to increased health risks.

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