At a 2009 Menopause and You event, attendees posed
questions to our guest speakers: Emily
Pollard, Lankenau Medical Center plastic and reconstructive surgeon;
Helena Schotland, Bryn Mawr Hospital sleep medicine specialist; and Marilyn
Ryan, Paoli Hospital endocrinologist. The session was moderated by Beverly
Vaughn, Menopause and You medical coordinator. This is a
summary of that Q&A session.
How does surgical menopause affect aging, skin, face and hair loss?
Surgical menopause assumes that the ovaires have been removed prior to
natural menopause. If estrogen is provided, the changes in skin, face
and hair shouldn't be different from those in someone who still has
functioning ovaries. A significant effect can be seen in bones and the
cardiovascular system. In the absence of estrogen there will be bone
loss and an increased chance of osteoporosis. Women who have an early
surgical menopause are at higher risk for coronary artery disease; this
is particularly true if they don't take estrogen after the surgery.
Is there a safe way to get estrogen (e.g., in food or tablets)? I have
concerns that medications will cause high blood pressure or kidney
There are no tablets that are substitutes for estrogen. Black cohosh was
thought to be helpful, but this was disproved in a recent study.
Certainly soy products have benefit for the reduction of hot flashes.
Soy has isoflavones that have estrogen-like properties in some of the
body's tissues. The actual food has to be consumed for this effect to be
valuable. Good sources are tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, and soy milk.
Prescription estrogen shouldn't have a deleterious effect on high blood
pressure or kidney function.
Is there a support group for surgical menopause patients?
I don't know of a support group for patients with surgical menopause.
You can get information on premature menopause, which includes surgical
menopause, from our website. You may also want to look at menopause.org,
the website for the North American Menopause Society.
How much is too much vitamin C? Does the excess get eliminated through
The daily value for vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is 60 mg per day for
nonpregnant women, and the elderly have requirements up to 125 mg per
day. Requirements for smokers are increased by as much as 40%. Best
sources of this vitamin are fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is
eliminated through the urine. If a supplement is taken, 100 to 200 mg
daily is adequate. Large doses of vitamin C (more than 1,000 mg daily)
have been associated with diarrhea and abdominal bloating. There is also
a possible relationship of high-dose vitamin C ingestion and calcium
oxalate kidney stones.
Are there any specific foods that help to increase the metabolism and
There are no specific foods that help to increase the metabolism and
energy levels, but there is some evidence that your energy improves if
you consume carbohydrates and protein together. It has also been
suggested that including at least three food groups at every meal is
beneficial for your energy level.
Is weight training using light weights with several repetitions as
effective as using heavier weights with fewer repetitions?
An appropriate strength-training regimen should be done about three
times a week for about 20 minutes each session. Two sets of eight
repetitions each are recommended. When the eighth lift is no longer a
challenge, the weight should be increased.
Is it true that after menopause, women must eat 20 percent fewer
No, not necessarily! The basal metabolic rate (BMR) will decrease by
about 200 calories per day between the ages of 30 and 60 if a woman does
not maintain her muscle mass. If she works at maintaining muscle mass,
her BMR will remain the same. So yes, her daily requirements will
decrease by 200 calories daily, only if she allows her muscle mass to
diminish over time. (Importance of strengthening exercises!)
Are there any nonmedical ways to stop snoring?
Try sleeping on your side rather than on your back to reduce snoring.
Also, stopping smoking or losing weight might also help.
How do you determine if continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is
This is typically determined during a sleep study (polysomnogram). Newer
CPAP machines also monitor compliance and efficacy, and this data can be
downloaded from the CPAP machine to a physician's computer. We also
follow the patient's symptoms.
Do sleep problems or sleep medications affect memory?
Yes, both sleep disorders and sleep medications (typically
sedative-hypnotics) can affect memory.
What can be done about restless leg syndrome (RLS)?
Take sleep-hygeine measures
Stop using caffeine and tobacco
Reduce alcohol intake
Get regular exercise
Try medications such as dopamine agonists
Take iron if you have iron-deficiency anemia
This article is part of the Menopause and You library,
a Web-based program sponsored by Women’s Health Source.
It is intended as an information resource providing guidelines for
women. As always, check with your own healthcare practitioner with your
specific concerns and questions.
To speak with our nurse counselor, call 1.888.876.8764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Membership on the medical staff of Main Line Hospitals does not
constitute an employment or agency relationship.
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