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Published: June 9, 2023

Show and Tell: Normalizing Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy: A Family Physician Pursuit

By Fari Valji, MD

I've been thinking a lot about menopause treatment, my understanding of it, and how that should change. As a family physician, menopause is such a common cause of visits and questions from patients. Questions come about menopause before they get there, as they enter the perimenopause stage, or when they're in the throes of their worst vasomotor symptoms. I know it's also been a topic of national conversation, driven by a February 2023 New York Times piece by Susan Dominus. Dominus re-opens the discussion of how the Women's Health Initiative changed the practice of hormone replacement therapy through an alarming 2002 announcement that led to many eligible patients discontinuing treatment.  Prompted by a discussion with Dominus on the America Dissected podcast where she talks about her motivations for speaking out and how it prompted patients to approach their own doctors, I started to see how I could expand my own understanding and perhaps my own practice. I found the North American Menopause Society for both physicians and patients who are looking to learn more. Specifically, I found their MenoNotes to be a really helpful place for me to start conversations with my patients. Let’s all work to normalize discussion and treatment of symptoms of menopause.

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