February 25, 2015

Menopause Expert Commentary in JAMA

Feb. 25, 2015 | Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., director of reproductive endocrinology at UAMS and an international expert on fertility and menopause, has co-authored commentary on a study on  physical symptoms in menopause published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) – Internal Medicine.

The breakthrough study and commentary have drawn national attention from outlets such as the Today Show and Good Morning America.

Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D.

“Despite the high prevalence of vasomotor symptoms (VMS) among midlife women, surprisingly little research has been done on the underlying etiology, individual differences in symptom presentation, sociodemographic and clinical correlates, or duration of symptoms,” wrote Richard-Davis with co-author JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., Dr.P.H., of Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Vasomotor symptoms most commonly include hot flashes, which can last up to several minutes and are often followed by chills. Other symptoms can include vaginal dryness, depression, anxiety, irritability and fatigue.

“The present study by Nancy E. Avis and other authors is highly informative and allows for a more individualized approach to counseling women about VMS, including cultural and racial/ethnic differences,” they continued.

“Recent research has overturned the dogma that VMS have a short duration, minimally affect women’s health or quality of life and can be readily addressed by short-term approaches. The study by led by Avis contributes important information to facilitate a more personalized and informed approach to decision making and clinical care for midlife women.

“The good news is that women now have more options for managing VMS and more opportunities for shared decision making with their health care professionals. Continued research in this area holds promise for further advances that will guide future care of women experiencing VMS.”

Richard-Davis is a board member of the North American Menopause Society, which publishes the journal Menopause. As such, she reviews other publications and journals related to menopause. Manson, a Harvard internist, worked collaboratively to write the commentary to address different components of menopause from primary care to women’s health specialty care.

The study by Avis, entitled “Duration of vasomotor symptoms over the menopause transition,” contributes data and correlates to the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, a multiracial and multiethnic cohort of women followed through menopausal transition and into post-menopausal years. Its findings include different durations of symptoms in women of different racial and ethnic categories, as well as correlation of symptom length to factors such as marital status, education level, financial burden and social support systems.