If you’ve ever had a hot flash, you know they are no fun. I found out the hard way at age 42 after my complete hysterectomy. Suddenly, my body had no way to produce many of the hormones it needed and my health went into a downward spiral. After a long trek back to health, I decided to start EmpowHer.com to help other women have a voice in their own health and well-being.
But hormone issues are still a hot button topic for me. So when I heard that the FDA was going to consider two possible new treatments for hot flashes, I was excited. It’s about time women get a better option to control hot flashes than the current hormone replacement therapies!
As a women’s health advocate, I was honored to be invited to speak to the FDA review panel considering the new, hormone-free drugs. To prepare, I teamed up with Kathy Kelley from HysterSisters.com to find out what women really want for their hormone treatments.
We conducted polls on both websites to find out about women’s experiences with hot flashes and what they want for treatment options. I was fortunate to go before the FDA panel and present the opinions of over 6,350 women who had taken the poll by early March. Since then, the number of women sharing their opinions has climbed to 6,674.
Here is some of what we learned:
• More than 90 percent of the women who answered the poll have hot flashes.
• Three out of four women said their hot flashes are moderate to severe.
• Having hot flashes is embarrassing.
• Hot flashes have a negative impact on women’s lives.
• Most women are worried about taking estrogen to treat hot flash symptoms.
• Most women who answered the polls are living with hot flash symptoms rather than using available treatments.
The FDA calls hot flashes a “lifestyle condition.” I call them a life altering condition. In this day and age, it’s disheartening that research has not provided a better solution than potentially health- threatening hormone treatments.
In the end, advisors to the FDA panel warned that the drug companies had not proven that their medications would work.