DR. SUSAN REED: Our study was tasked
with doing clinical trials for interventions for menopause.
We were a group of investigators multi-site across the country
from Oakland in California, Indianapolis in the Midwest,
Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Seattle.
We looked most specifically at non-hormonal treatments
because the NIH was looking for alternatives.
Classic symptoms we hear about are the hot flashes
and the night sweats.
I have to say, more commonly today
I see patients that are tolerating those to a degree.
What women are more worried about
is their ability to sleep and therefore
function in their home and their workplace.
So I think the good thing that came from our study
is that there are options for women that--
for women that are unable to take hormones.
We looked specifically at selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors, or SSRIs.
These are medications most commonly used
for mood or depression.
When used at lower doses, prior work
had suggested that these were relatively effective
for hot flashes and menopausal symptoms.
And what we found was that neither the exercise
or the yoga improved the frequency or the severity
of hot flashes over regular exercise or routine activity.
And the omega-3 fatty acid versus an omega-3 placebo
was not effective.
What we did see-- and we've already known
this-- is that both exercise and yoga
are very good for everyone's health and very
important for quality of life and, particularly for exercise,
Yoga, we saw improvement in overall sense of well-being
or quality of life.
Our last trial looked at sleep.
And this was an intervention where
we did a telephone-based cognitive behavioral therapy
for sleep in women with menopausal symptoms
and specifically sleep symptoms related to menopause.
This had not been studied before,
and the party line had been, again, that estrogen was
effective for sleep at midlife.
And a telephone-based intervention
was as good if not better than the estrogen.
This kind of intervention, it would
be exciting to see health care organizations looking
at rolling out.
This is a simple telephone-based therapy
that would be cost effective and not have to involve medication
It's really critical to have women prioritize what's
bothering them the most.
I ask them to literally list in order the things
that they want to improve upon.
And then we choose selective therapies
for those rather than a broader medication
to really target the areas that they're
most interested in improving.
The other thing I say to all my patients
is we can feel fairly confident that almost all women we
have something that we can do to help them with.
Even if they've got wicked hot flashes from a breast cancer,
there are some tools that we have
that are really going to help each individual woman.