ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Hormone Replacement Therapy
ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, as well as an important cause of disability, although many women and their physicians underestimate the risk. Exercise, hypertension treatment, smoking cessation and aspirin therapy are effective measures for the primary prevention of coronary artery disease in women. The roles of lipid-lowering agents and hormone replacement therapy in primary prevention are not well established. In secondary prevention, hormone replacement therapy has not been effective in lowering the risk of recurrent myocardial infarction, but several lipid-lowering agents have been shown to reduce this risk and to lower mortality rates in women with known coronary artery disease. Other secondary prevention measures, including aspirin, beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, revascularization and rehabilitation, have proven benefits in women but are underused, especially in minority women. Family physicians should emphasize the use of proven treatments, with particular attention given to underserved populations.
Treatment of Hypothyroidism - Article
ABSTRACT: Thyroid disease affects up to 0.5 percent of the population of the United States. Its prevalence is higher in women and the elderly. The management of hypothyroidism focuses on ensuring that patients receive appropriate thyroid hormone replacement therapy and monitoring their response. Hormone replacement should be initiated in a low dosage, especially in the elderly and in patients prone to cardiac problems. The dosage should be increased gradually, and laboratory values should be monitored six to eight weeks after any dosage change. Once a stable dosage is achieved, annual monitoring of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level is probably unnecessary, except in older patients. After full replacement of thyroxine (T4) using levothyroxine, the addition of triiodothyronine (T3) in a low dosage may be beneficial in some patients who continue to have mood or memory problems. The management of patients with subclinical hypothyroidism (a high TSH in the presence of normal free T4 and T3 levels) remains controversial. In these patients, physicians should weigh the benefits of replacement (e.g., improved cardiac function) against problems that can accompany the excessive use of levothyroxine (e.g., osteoporosis).
ABSTRACT: Turner syndrome occurs in one out of every 2,500 to 3,000 live female births. The syndrome is characterized by the partial or complete absence of one X chromosome (45,X karyotype). Patients with Turner syndrome are at risk of congenital heart defects (e.g., coarctation of aorta, bicuspid aortic valve) and may have progressive aortic root dilatation or dissection. These patients also are at risk of congenital lymphedema, renal malformation, sensorineural hearing loss, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, and atherogenic lipid profile. Patients usually have normal intelligence but may have problems with nonverbal, social, and psychomotor skills. Physical manifestations may be subtle but can include misshapen ears, a webbed neck, a broad chest with widely spaced nipples, and cubitus valgus. A Turner syndrome diagnosis should be considered in girls with short stature or primary amenorrhea. Patients are treated for short stature in early childhood with growth hormone therapy, and supplemental estrogen is initiated by adolescence for pubertal development and prevention of osteoporosis. Almost all women with Turner syndrome are infertile, although some conceive with assisted reproduction.
ABSTRACT: Female sexual complaints are common, occurring in approximately 40 percent of women. Decreased desire is the most common complaint. Normal versus abnormal sexual functioning in women is poorly understood, although the concept of normal female sexual function continues to develop. A complete history combined with a physical examination is warranted for the evaluation of women with sexual complaints or concerns. Although laboratory evaluation is rarely helpful in guiding diagnosis or treatment, it may be indicated in women with abnormal physical examination findings or suspected comorbidities. The PLISSIT (Permission, Limited Information, Specific Suggestions, Intensive Therapy) or ALLOW (Ask, Legitimize, Limitations, Open up, Work together) method can be used to facilitate discussions about sexual concerns and initiation of treatment. Developments in the treatment of male erectile dysfunction have led to investigation of pharmacotherapy for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction. Although sexual therapy and education (e.g., cognitive behavior therapy, individual and couple therapy, physiotherapy) form the basis of treatment, there is limited research demonstrating the benefit of hormonal and nonhormonal drugs. Testosterone improves sexual function in postmenopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, although data on its long-term safety and effectiveness are lacking. Estrogen improves dyspareunia associated with vulvovaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors have been shown to have limited benefit in small subsets of women with sexual dysfunction.
ABSTRACT: Coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in women, is largely preventable. Lifestyle modifications (e.g., diet and exercise) are the cornerstone of primary and secondary prevention. Elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol are significant risk factors for coronary heart disease. Abundant data show inadequate utilization of lipid-lowering therapy in women. Even when women are given lipid-lowering agents, target levels often are not achieved. Recent guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology encourage a more aggressive approach to lipid lowering in women. The National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III also supports this strategy and significantly expands the number of women who qualify for intervention.
ABSTRACT: Lowering cholesterol can reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease. Treating hypertension reduces overall mortality and is most effective in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease in older patients. Smoking cessation reduces the level of risk to that of nonsmokers within about three years of cessation. Aspirin is likely to be an effective means of primary prevention, but a group in whom treatment is appropriate has yet to be defined. Evidence that supplementation with vitamin A or C reduces the risk of coronary heart disease is inadequate; the data for use of vitamin E are inconclusive. Epidemiologic evidence is sufficient to recommend that most persons increase their levels of physical activity. Lowering homocysteine levels through increased folate intake is a promising but unproven primary prevention strategy. Hormone replacement therapy was associated with reduced incidence of coronary heart disease in epidemiologic studies but was not effective in a secondary prevention trial.
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding - Article
ABSTRACT: The most probable etiology of abnormal uterine bleeding relates to the patient's reproductive age, as does the likelihood of serious endometrial pathology. The specific diagnostic approach depends on whether the patient is premenopausal, perimenopausal or postmenopausal. In premenopausal women with normal findings on physical examination, the most likely diagnosis is dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) secondary to anovulation, and the diagnostic investigation is targeted at identifying the etiology of anovulation. In perimenopausal patients, endometrial biopsy and other methods of detecting endometrial hyperplasia or carcinoma must be considered early in the investigation. Uterine pathology, particularly endometrial carcinoma, is common in postmenopausal women with abnormal uterine bleeding. Thus, in this age group, endometrial biopsy or transvaginal ultrasonography is included in the initial investigation. Premenopausal women with DUB may respond to oral contraceptives, cyclic medroxyprogesterone therapy or cyclic clomiphene. Perimenopausal women may also be treated with low-dose oral contraceptives or medroxyprogesterone. Erratic bleeding during hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women with no demonstrable pathology may respond to manipulation of the hormone regimen.
Managing Menopause - Article
ABSTRACT: Many women will spend one third of their lifetime after menopause. A growing number of options are available for the treatment of menopausal symptoms like vasomotor instability and vaginal atrophy, as well as the long-term health risks such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis that are associated with menopause. Currently, hormone replacement therapy (estrogen with or without progestin) is the primary treatment for the symptoms and long-term risks associated with menopause. However, recent evidence calls into question the protective effect of estrogen on cardiovascular disease risk. The association of risk for breast cancer with estrogen replacement therapy also has not been fully clarified. In addition, many women cannot or choose not to take hormones. For treatment of osteoporosis and heart disease, pharmacologic choices include antiresorptive agents such as bisphosphonates and calcitonin, and estrogens or selective estrogen receptor modulators such as raloxifene. In addition, complementary options that include vitamins, herbal treatments, exercise and other lifestyle adaptations are gaining increased interest. The growing number of choices and questions in this area emphasizes the need to individualize a treatment plan for each woman to meet her specific needs.
Hormone Therapy for Postmenopausal Women with Urinary Incontinence - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries