Should a menopausal woman take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to see her through a period of uncomfortable symptoms, or will light clothing and avoidance of caffeine and alcohol control her hot flushes? If she has a trouble-free menopause should she in any case have HRT to protect her against postmenopausal osteoporosis and coronary heart disease? Dr Wilson’s book, a Which? Consumer Guide, will help women approaching the menopause to understand the potential benefits and possible disadvantages of HRT and the importance of exercise, eating well and minimising stress in achieving a sense of wellbeing. The book is informative and well balanced though there are occasional lapses. The author’s advice to postmenopausal women to take extra calcium is at odds with published evidence that dietary calcium has little if any effect in preventing bone loss after the menopause, and certainly none to compare with that of HRT. A reference to a paper claiming that HRT induces so-called “drug dependence”, with neither an explanation of the claim nor a mention of the counter-arguments subsequently published, seems needlessly alarmist. These criticisms apart we recommend the book for any women wanting to know more about managing her menopause.
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↵* Wilson, Robert CD. Understanding HRT and the menopause. Published by Consumers’ Association and Hodder & Stoughton. Available from the Which? bookshop (359–61 Euston Road, London, NW1 3AL), other bookshops, or from the Subscription Department, Consumers’ Association, PO Box 44, Hertford X, SG14 1LH. £9.99 including p+p.
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