Osphena (ospemifene) New Drug Approved for Common Menopause Symptom
One of the more common symptom of women in menopause is dyspareunia due to vulvovaginal atrophy, more commonly known as difficulty having sex due to vaginal dryness. Current treatments include vaginal lubricants, low-dose vaginal estrogen, and systemic estrogen. Researchers recently published studies in Pharmacotherapy on the a newly approved drug by the US Food and Drug Administration, ospemifene, for the treatment of moderate to severe dyspareunia in connection with vulvovaginal atrophy. Several studies report that women have seen a decrease in pH and an increase in vaginal moisture after taking the new drug. Thus far, there appears to be no harm to bone or breast health.
Nonhormonal Treatment of Induced Menopause for Breast Cancer Survivors
Over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Treatments may include chemotherapy, removal of the ovaries, antiestrogen therapy, and radiation therapy — all of which can induce menopause. These women experience many of the same symptoms as other women who reach menopause naturally including intense hot flashes, vaginal dryness, problems with sleeping, bone loss, etc. The challenge for these women is that hormone replacement therapy is not ideal for most breast cancers caused by excess estrogen. The North American Menopause Society recommends several nonhormonal and lifestyle changes that can help breast cancer survivors find relief. Suggestions include maintaining a healthy weight, staying cool, and asking the doctor about nonhormonal medications.
Oxidative Stress is a Predictor for Hip Fractures in Postmenopausal Women
Researchers from the UC College of Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School recently published findings in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research stating that oxidative stress is a significant predictor of hip fractures in postmenopausal women. The process begins while your lungs breathe in oxygen, allowing it to travel through your body via your blood. Free radicals cause oxidative damage to your body’s cells. These free radicals come from a variety of places including smoking, fried foods, pollution, radiation, etc. For many aging boomers, hip fractures can be a very expensive injury, putting postmenopausal women at high risk for disability and other chronic diseases like obesity and heart failure. This is very likely the first study of its kind with postmenopausal women linking oxidative stress to hip fractures.
New Drug Approved for Women with Cervical Cancer
The New York Times reports that the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the drug, Avastin, for women with cervical cancer. Avastin cuts off the blood vessels that feed cancer cells in the cervix, potentially saving the lives of some 12,300 women in the U.S. who are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, according to the National Cancer Institute. The drug is recommended for women with cervical cancer that is either persistent, recurrent, or has spread to other parts of the body. Avastin has been approved to be used in combination with chemotherapy drugs and is currently being used to treat other forms of cancer including colon, lung, glioblastoma, and kidney cancers.
Yoga Warning for Baby Boomers
The Washington Post recently reported a story on the benefits of yoga for boomers with some warnings for potential injury. It is becoming more common for doctors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals to recommend yoga as a way for older adults to reduce stress and combat other chronic illnesses. However many are walking away from classes aggravating old injuries that can lead to muscle soreness and other complications. It is important to find classes that are designed with the older adult in mind. If you have a pre-existing condition that may get in the way of your yoga practice, try watching a few classes before settling on one. Have a conversation with the instructor and tell them about your condition. Ask about adaptations to yoga moves that may aggravate your back, hips, or other bone and muscle groups. Try watching the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s webinar, “Safe Pilates and Yoga for Bone Health,” for more information.