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Medical Professionals Caution on Over-medicalisation of Menopause

A collective of medical experts, in a new series of articles published in The Lancet journal, advocate for a reconsideration of societal perspectives on menopause and its associated treatments. They argue against treating menopause solely as a health issue to be addressed through hormone replacement therapy, emphasizing the necessity for broader societal changes in how menopause is perceived and managed globally. The Lancet editorial accompanying the series highlights the commercialization and over-medicalization of menopause, portraying it as a condition primarily defined by estrogen deficiency.

The series also sheds light on the inadequate care received by certain groups of women, such as those undergoing early menopause or experiencing it due to cancer treatment.

The authors challenge the assumption that menopause frequently leads to mental health issues, though they acknowledge specific risk factors, such as severe hot flashes, night sweats, or cancer recovery.

Of particular concern to the authors is the prevalence of companies marketing therapies for menopause. They criticize how commercial interests, including pharmaceutical companies and private providers, heavily influence media narratives surrounding menopause and hormone treatment.

The authors contend that these messages often minimize or disregard the potential risks associated with hormone treatment for menopause.

They further contend that menopause ought to be perceived “as a component of healthy aging” to mitigate stigma associated with this phase of life.

Professor Martha Hickey from the University of Melbourne, a co-author of the series, emphasized, “The notion that menopause is invariably a medical concern indicating a decline in both physical and mental well-being should be challenged at all levels of society.”

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