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FP Essent. 2018 Nov;474:20-27.

Endocrine Conditions in Older Adults: Menopause.

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Trident Family Health Department of Family Medicine MUSC, 9228 Medical Plaza Dr, Charleston, SC 29406.
Department of Family Medicine MUSC, 5 Charleston Center Drive, Charleston, SC 29425.


Menopause is the cessation of menstruation due to loss of ovarian function and is diagnosed retrospectively after 12 consecutive months of amenorrhea. The average age of onset in the United States is 51 years but symptoms can be present for many years before and after. Vasomotor and genitourinary symptoms are the most common. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most effective management. Given the possible risks of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer, recommendations for HRT after the Women's Health Initiative study are to limit HRT to the lowest dose and shortest duration to relieve symptoms. Based on more recent data, women younger than 60 years and less than 10 years from menopause onset appear to be at lower risk of these factors when initiating HRT. Dosing, type of HRT, administration route, and duration of use are individualized. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, gabapentin, and clonidine are alternative nonhormonal options with high-quality evidence supporting their use for symptom relief. However, these management options are less effective than HRT. Local vaginal therapy is effective and recommended for management of isolated vulvovaginal symptoms. Decisions to discontinue HRT should be based on symptoms and risk factors, not age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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