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Minimising menopausal side effects whilst treating endometriosis and fibroids

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Paul D. Simpson, James S. McLaren, Janice Rymer, Edward P. Morris

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalPost reproductive health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

King's Authors


Medical management of endometriosis and fibroids involves manipulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis to alter the balance of sex hormones thereby inhibiting disease progression and ameliorate symptoms. Unfortunately, resultant menopausal symptoms sometimes limit the tolerability and duration of such treatment. The use of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists to treat these diseases can result in short-term hypoestrogenic and vasomotor side effects as well as long-term impacts on bone health and cardiovascular risk. The routine use of add-back hormone replacement has reduced these risks and increased patient compliance, making this group of drugs more useful as a medium-term treatment option. The estrogen threshold hypothesis highlights the concept of a 'therapeutic window' in which bone loss is minimal but the primary disease is not aggravated. It explains why add-back therapy is appropriate for such patients and helps to explain the basis behind new developments in the treatment of hormonally responsive gynaecological conditions such as gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonists and progesterone receptor modulators.

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