My Vow To Women’s Health

Categories: Depression| Hormone Replacement| News| Research

Could The Nervous Breakdowns of the 1960's be undiagnosed symptoms of menopause?

The structure and operation of the human body is intriguing. It is a beautifully linked, complex system involving endless, intricate processes. I am in awe of this system and have dedicated my life to honoring it and understanding it as completely as possible. Even though I had an excellent education at UCLA and USC, I’ve learned even more over the years by listening to and interacting with my patients. Medicine is a life-long process of learning, continually enhanced as a physician acquires and draws upon a rich knowledge base of clinical experience.

My interest in menopause began as a teenager. In high school in the late 1960s, I recall my friends’ mothers in their forties and fifties being hospitalized for “nervous breakdowns.” I thought it was curious that so many women were supposedly having nervous breakdowns. Now I realize they were probably going through menopause. Unfortunately, far too often women’s complaints are trivialized or dismissed as being hysterical. The Latin word hystericus, formed the basis of the modern Latin noun, hysteria, a term coined in the 19th century for a neurotic condition supposedly peculiar to women. This forms the origin of hysterectomy, the medical term for removal of the uterus

When I decided to go to medical school, I swore I would do something to improve health care for women. Even today, when women in their forties complain of depression, mood swings and anxiety, it’s common for them to be prescribed antidepressants and tranquilizers before being considered for hormones. To be sure, these medications have an important role, especially in patients with severe symptoms. However, if the symptoms occur in the presence of an underlying deficiency of estrogen, testosterone, or thyroid hormone, it’s essential to correct the underlying hormone deficiency.

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