Dr. Sarrel explains why women may want to consider hormone therapy replacements.
There are many societies in which there is no such thing as paying attention to hormones and replacing what’s missing, and we have to keep in mind that until the 20th century, life expectancy at birth, life expectancy did not go beyond the age of menopause. So in fact, it's only in the 20th century that we have a substantial number of women who are living past the age of 51.
By the way, the average age of menopause, I should have said, it’s 51 plus or minus four years. So it’s just as normal for a 47-year-old to get her last period as a 55-year-old to still be menstruating, and I actually recently saw a woman who was 65 years old still having a regular cycle each month with evidence that she is popping eggs.
What that’s telling us is, women today are healthier than women have ever been before. They take better care of themselves, nutrition, exercise, all the things we know, just the standard of living. What it adds up to is survival, and it means that when you get to be age 51 or 52, you’re not going to have just another two or three or four or five or ten years of life ahead, you’re going to have a life expectancy of at least another 30 years, and that’s the rationale for hormone therapy because, let’s take the woman who is losing bone. You don’t want her, I am sure she doesn’t want to be a 75-year-old crippled by osteoporosis. If she had had a hysterectomy and lost her ovarian function, her risk that she would have a hip fracture by age 70 is almost tripled unless you do something about it.
Her risk that she would have a heart attack by the time she is in her 60s is increased significantly, 200 to 300% increase, all of which is preventable. So the name of the game in midlife and aging is prevention of problems, staying healthy, keeping your body in balance, whether you’re doing that with a vitamin program, a nutritional program, a hormonal program. In other words, to strive for the balance that works for you, and that’s the rationale.
About Dr. Sarrel, M.D.:
Philip M. Sarrel, M.D., completed his medical education at New York University School of Medicine, his internship at the Mount Sinai Hospital, and his residency at Yale New Haven Hospital. In addition to his many years on the faculty of the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Sarrel has also been a Faculty Scholar in the department of psychiatry at Oxford University, Visiting Senior Lecturer at King’s College Hospital Medical School at the University of London, Visiting Professor in Cardiac Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute in London, and Visiting Professor in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He is currently Emeritus Professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and psychiatry at Yale University.