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J Neurol. 2014 Jul;261(7):1257-68. doi: 10.1007/s00415-013-7131-8. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

Menopause in multiple sclerosis: therapeutic considerations.

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Department of Neurology, Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 1 Brookline Place West, Suite 225, Brookline, MA, 02445, USA,


While the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS) typically occurs during the childbearing years, many women living with MS are of perimenopausal age. There is frequent overlap between menopausal and MS-related symptoms and co-morbidities (e.g. sexual dysfunction, mood disorders and bladder function). Furthermore, some MS symptoms may be exacerbated by perimenopausal changes such as hot flashes or sleep disturbance. The MS neurologist may frequently be the first to become aware of these symptoms and to play a role in monitoring and managing them. In this review, we describe immunological and neurologic changes at menopause as they may impact MS. We then review common symptoms, including fatigue, depression, sexual function, pain and insomnia, and provide both behavioral and pharmacological suggestions for their management. Next, we discuss the need for osteoporosis and cancer screening in perimenopausal women with MS. Finally, we highlight important research gaps, including what effect, if any, the menopausal transition may play on MS disease course as well as the potential modulatory role of hormone replacement therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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