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Good oil or snake oil?: Treatment regimens for postmenopausal women’

Dr Barry G Wren AM,
MD, MBBS, MHPEd., FRANZCOG, FRCOG

This book is a wonderfully concise summary of the available treatments for the management of menopausal symptoms.  It also takes a fascinating look at menopause itself, in terms of how our understanding of menopause evolved over time, and how treatments were developed by various cultures for treatment of menopause-related symptoms.  Dr Wren takes the reader through the development of exogenous oestrogens and progestogens and puts HRT use into context, especially given the recent controversies surrounding HRT.   In the course of history synthetically produced sex steroid HRT has only really existed over the last 75 years or so, remarkable when we consider the controversy its use has been associated with over the past 10 years.  Dr Wren looks at the development of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer, and the relationship of all of these to HRT.  He also looks at the effects of HRT on the cardiovascular system.  

The book summarises the roles of HRT, lists and describes currently available HRT treatments and summarises current guidelines from peak menopause bodies as to their recommendations for HRT use.  Osteoporosis management is discussed, including non-HRT options for treatment, and the risks and benefits associated with these.  Non-HRT therapies, both medical and alternative, for the treatment of menopausal symptoms are discussed.  Dr Wren also takes the reader through a concise analysis of the WHI study, including the various issues surrounding the publication of results from the study.

All up the book makes for fascinating reading, even for those who are well versed in menopausal management.  At less than 100 pages, it is also highly recommended for those who wish to be updated about the options for menopausal symptom relief, yet don’t have the time or resources to look at a variety of different guidelines or references.

Review by
Dr Sonia Davison, MBBS FRACP PhD,
Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow,
Women’s Health Research Program,
Monash University 

Content updated May 2011

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