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Hormone replacement therapy was once a menopausal girl's best friend.
But that relationship has soured. As continuing studies underscore the lack of faith researchers have in HRT for long-term use, confused women turn to their doctors for answers.
But they may not be getting them, according to a new survey by JD Powers for the National Consumers League.
Because no treatment is foolproof.
There is no cut-and-dried set recommendation,'' says Dr. Ann Honebrink, an obstetrician/gynecologist with the Pennsylvania Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.There are a lot of different options and none are perfect. We can't say, `here's what to do.' There's no easy answer for everyone. That's hard for patients to hear.''
Honebrink, a spokesman for the National Consumers League campaign: Take Time to Talk about Your Symptoms (www.nclnet.org/menopause), urges women to take more responsibility for getting information from their doctors by getting more information to their doctors.
1. Be ready to discuss how your symptoms are affecting your daily life. You may have limited time with your doctor, so don't let the discussion veer into that earache you had two weeks ago.
2. Have a good grip on your family history. Is there heart disease? Did a lot of women break bones?
3. Be open-minded, able to say, ``I would like to be treated, what do you think works the best?'' Try not to say you'd never take hormones or even alternative remedies, especially if your symptoms are severe.
4. Be open to hearing that you might need to make lifestyle changes such as losing weight, changing your diet, cutting back on caffeine, exercising more. ``That's hard information for many women,'' Honebrink says.
5. Don't be afraid to do your own research and ask questions. You want to be a partner with your doctor in your own treatment.
If your local health food store is offering advice on herbal remedies such as black cohosh, investigate if you'd like, and discuss it with your physician.
Things like dose and frequency are not something we know a great deal about,'' Honebrink says of alternative treatments,but I like it better than having no information.''
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c.2003 Cox News Service