PETALING JAYA: Many Malaysian women are suffering unnecessarily from menopausal symptoms due to a lack of understanding and a negative perception on treatment methods, said Malaysian Menopause Society president Dr Ho Choon Moy.
She said a survey by Universiti Malaya’s Health Research Development Unit revealed that more than 60% of middle-aged women appeared to be lacking in knowledge about health risks associated with menopause.
On top of that, only 6% of women seek hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in Malaysia, she said, adding that more could be done to increase awareness about menopause. Symptoms associated with menopause such as incontinence, hot flashes, excessive sweating, depression, memory loss, weight gain and osteoporosis can be treated, Dr Ho said at a press conference in conjunction with a World Menopause Day 2010 forum here yesterday.
She said a Women Health Initiative study in 2002 had wrongly created some negative reaction towards HRT treatment.
While there was no increased risk of breast cancer among women who took HRT in less than five years, the study claimed there was an increase of just eight cases (in every 10,000 women) among those who took HRT for more than five years.
“It is actually very low,” said Dr Ho, adding “what people failed to see were the many benefits – prevention of osteoporosis, good skin and teeth, good well-being, 30% increase of lifespan and a better quality of life.”
On herbal remedies, studies in Asia showed that 30% of women take natural or herbal remedies, she said.
On whether menopause could lead to suicide, Dr Ho said severe depression symptom was uncommon.
They were usually nothing more than mood swings, irritability and mild depression, she said.
“Women suffering from depression should get themselves checked to determine whether it was due to menopause or a psychiatric problem,” she said.
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