Study finds women seek anti-aging clinicians to treat menopausal symptoms

August 18, 2014

Feeling that conventional doctors did not take their suffering seriously, women instead sought out hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms from anti-aging clinicians, according to a Case Western Reserve University study that investigated the appeal of anti-aging medicine.

Some women also feared the harmful side effects from conventional (HRT) that had shown increased risks for cancer, heart disease and . Yet, they thought that the bioidentical, "natural" hormones their anti-aging doctors prescribed were safe, despite a lack of conventional scientific evidence to that fact.

Michael Flatt, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Case Western Reserve University, and Jennifer Fishman, assistant professor at McGill University, will discuss these and other findings during the presentation "'Hormones Are Where It's At': Bioidentical Hormones, Menopausal Women, and Anti-Aging Medicine" on Monday, Aug. 18, at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Aug. 16-19, in San Francisco.

The findings about the women's attitudes are part of a larger study in the Department of Bioethics at Case Western Reserve that investigated the views of scientists, doctors and patients involved with anti-aging science and medicine.

The researchers, who conducted the study with Richard Settersten Jr., professor of public health at Oregon State University, explored what it was about anti-aging medicine that appealed to women, given that the costs for care and prescribed medications were not covered by medical insurance.

Was it vanity to maintain their youthful appearance or some other motivation?

Findings from in-depth interviews with 25 women who used bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) prescribed by an anti-aging clinician bucked the vanity-driven stereotype.

Instead, Flatt said the women told researchers they wanted to relieve their , feel energized and avoid chronic illnesses associated with aging. The women also described their motivation as wanting to return to an "optimal" state and believed that bioidentical hormones would do this.

"Hormones became the panacea reported by the women," Flatt said. "They felt that if the hormones were in order, they'd be back on track."

The anti-aging clinicians prescribed BHRT after the women took a series of tests to determine the causes of their menopausal symptoms, which purportedly included hormonal and vitamin deficiencies. They were prescribed BHRT, hormones derived from plants, like soy and yams. The hormonal therapies are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration and made to order by compounding pharmacists.

Among the reasons the said they found anti-aging medicine attractive were:

  • Patients received more time and attention from the clinician.
  • Medications were seen as "natural" and thought to return one to an optimal state of being.
  • BHRT was perceived as safer than conventional replacement therapy.

Explore further: Different hormone therapy formulations may pose different risks for heart attack and stroke

Related Stories

Different hormone therapy formulations may pose different risks for heart attack and stroke

September 18, 2013
Post-menopausal women whose doctors prescribe hormone replacement therapy for severe hot flashes and other menopause symptoms may want to consider taking low doses of Food and Drug Administration-approved bioidentical forms ...

Penn study finds more than a third of women have hot flashes 10 years after menopause

January 30, 2014
A team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found that moderate to severe hot flashes continue, on average, for nearly five years after menopause, and more than a third ...

Experts lay out options for menopause symptoms

December 23, 2013
(HealthDay)—Women bothered by hot flashes or other effects of menopause have a number of treatment options—hormonal or not, according to updated guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Women prescribed combination HRT should use caution when taking apigenin supplement, study finds

November 20, 2013
Hormone replacement therapies, or medications containing female hormones that substitute those no longer produced by the body, are often prescribed to reduce the effects of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms in women. ...

Hormone therapy safe for women, study finds

April 18, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A new study has examined the cognitive effects of hormone therapy on memory, language and concentration in menopausal women.

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.