Male Menopause Classes: Are They A Waste of Money?

You may have seen a Daily Mail article reporting on classes being given to members of the emergency services to help them better understand and aid co-workers going through menopause.

The piece tends to align itself with Tory MP David Davies, who is quoted as saying that the classes are a ‘waste of money’. The Daily Mail seems to think that everyone is fully aware of the symptoms, consequences and struggles of menopause, and should simply get on with their work.

I think otherwise. We all – middle aged women, young women, men, workers, bosses – can stand to gain from a little extra education where menopause is concerned.

Middle aged women can truly benefit from a work atmosphere that is understanding and accepting of an important but often distressing part of life. In fact, Dr. Hannah Short says that ‘Up to 10% women consider quitting their job as a result’. How can we allow women to reach that point of discomfort?

The Daily Mail article states that around 3.5 million women of menopause age are currently in work. That is a large figure, and surely bosses must understand that 350,000 women leaving their jobs would leave a huge hole in their productivity and ability to operate.

As these classes will include male and young female co-workers, there is the potential to better educate those unaware of menopausal symptoms and how to help female colleagues experiencing them. This should create a more empathetic working environment, and prepare young women who often do not fully appreciate how much of a struggle menopause can be until it is upon them.

Perhaps most importantly though, these classes could go a long way to helping remove some of the stigma that exists around menopause and create a conversation we should all be having.

My advice – keep yourself informed and don’t be afraid to talk about your experiences!

 

Reasons not to follow the new guidelines for HRT

Fifty six articles and we’re still counting the number of articles proclaiming HRT to be safe based on the new NICE guidelines.

I am wondering how such information can be so ‘superficially’ pushed around to promote HRT for menopausal women, when there is no clear evidence that it does not cause cancer.

As previously discussed, the drug company-funded PR campaign to encourage HRT in October used an unpublished study to support its claims. The pharmaceutical / PR spin supporting wider prescribing of HRT in the UK used a study that is not valid. This particular study looked at body composition, and where women had accumulated fat, if they put on weight during their course of HRT, rather than cancer.

On the other hand, a major, and long-term study, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in the US, along with the Million Women study in the UK, clearly demonstrates that the risks – breast and ovarian cancer, along with heart disease – greatly out weight any benefits synthetic HRT may offer.

Is HRT really worth the risk?

The WHI study clearly demonstrates that HRT does cause breast cancer, but does not produce the supposed benefits such as protection against cardiovascular disease (and actually increases CVD risk), stroke, or cognitive loss. Neither did it improve mood or sexual satisfaction – although it did help with hot flushes and night sweats – is it really worth the risk?

After only four years of taking Prempro (HRT) women showed a 26% increase in invasive breast cancer, and what is worse, the cancers that occurred in the 26% were slightly larger and more advanced, and were more likely to spread to nearby lymph nodes. Again, is it really worth it?

Who are they to say, “Go ahead dear, take HRT, your quality of life will be better.” It won’t! You might not have it anymore.

It’s our body!

It is our body, we are the only ones that can protect ourselves. We need a menopause mentor – someone that tells you the true facts. Lays it straight on the line.

More information on HRT Studies

No, HRT isn’t ‘harmless’ – there are risks as well as benefits, Cancer Research UK

Leading HRT experts not consulted over NHS menopause guidance, The Guardian

Beware ‘HRT is safe’ headlines

Please don’t ignore! HRT is dangerous and does cause breast cancer.

HRT manufacturers & the media

In October, the findings of unpublished research funded by Pfizer (manufacturers of HRT) were picked up by an unnamed account executive at the world’s 2nd largest PR company, Weber Shandwick.

Many of the UK newspapers, including, The Mirror, The Telegraph and The Guardian, reported that the study involved 80 women who took HRT and that the ‘women taking HRT were no more likely to develop breast cancer, heart disease or diabetes than any other women who did not take the treatment.’

Meanwhile, in the UK, Weber Shandwick released a survey funded by Mylan Pharmaceutical (who make HRT) stating 27 percent of 1,000 women surveyed stayed clear of HRT because of the health scare surrounding it.

Together, the unpublished Pfizer research and the Weber Shandwick survey made a big splash with the UK press where we saw bold headlines stating that HRT was safe.

Here is how the Daily Mail covered it, “Doctors said women can finally take HRT with confidence, after years of fear that it may cause serious side-effects.. NHS watchdog NICE is due to publish new advice next month, and is expected to order GPs to significantly expand the number of women they consider for the drug.”

Ridiculous coverage

The author of the Pfizer funded research, Lila Nachtigall, condemned the “ridiculous” coverage in the British press. She said the study had been about body composition, looking at where women accumulated fat if they put on weight during their course of HRT, and not cancer. She found it interesting that none had developed cancer, but “we made it very clear it was not a study. It was just an observation,” she said. See article quoting Lila Nachtigall, MD here.

Cancer fears remain

The Guardian, has now reported, the concerns and fears of scientists and cancer charities, including Prof Valerie Beral, who leads the Million Women study, and Cancer Research UK, who are deeply concerned that recent headlines are misleading.

“The study presenting a positive case for the use of HRT was by no means comprehensive, drawing on the experience of just 80 women who had been taking the drugs and had not suffered from cancer or any other side-effects. But the evidence that breast and ovarian cancer risks rise with HRT was the result of two far-reaching studies by the Women’s Health Initiative in the US and the Million Women study at Oxford, which is funded by the cancer charity.”

Professor Valerie Beral of Oxford University, runs one of the largest studies to look into HRT risks and can be heard discussing the findings on BBC’s Radio 4’s Today programme here (listen from 2 hours, 50 mins).

Changes to HRT guidance

Are the PR companies and media preparing us to to accept conventional HRT as a safe option for menopause? The new NICE guidelines will be published in November and will include recommendations based on the benefits and risks of treatment with HRT.

Do you agree with the Daily Mail? Will GP’s be ordered to significantly expand the number of women offered the drug?