A Women’s Guide to Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Mar 7, 2000Book Review

Book Review
Title A Women’s Guide to Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Editors Lorraine Dennerstein AO MB BS PhD DPM FRANZCP
Psychiatry Director of the Office for Gender and Health
Department of Psychiatry
University of Melbourne
Melbourne, AustraliaJulia Shelley MPH PhD
Centre for the Study of Mothers’ and Children’s Health
La Trobe University
Melbourne, Australia
Publisher American Psychiatric Press Inc, USA, 1998
ISBN 0-88048-782-8
Pages 136
Price AUS $39.95
Reviewer Ms Judy Kaplan BA


To take HRT or not to take HRT. This is a question that looms large in the minds of premenopausal women. Lorraine Dennerstein and Julia Shelley draw together contributions from medical and alternative disciplines in order to enable women to make an informed decision regarding this issue.

The various symptoms and experiences of menopause, both physical and psychological, are described and viewed in the context of the particular environments in which women live. It is suggested that their ability to tolerate these experiences may be determined by their environments.

An outline of the workings of the endocrine system provides a backdrop against which a better understanding of hormone replacement therapy can be gained. Menopause is also viewed as one issue in the wider concern about women’s health. The implication for conditions such as osteoporosis and cardio-vascular disease are clarified and stress is placed on the importance of correct diet and exercise. The place in society of the debate regarding Hormone Replacement Therapy and its treatment in the mass media is identified. Finally a consideration of alternative treatments is introduced into what has characteristically been a medical debate.

Dennerstein et al answers a need in the community to take a look at the debate from many perspectives. She courageously admits alternative views to the process in very clear and non-medical language. This gives the lay person an opportunity to enter the debate armed with information adequate to the task of deciding which course of action, if any, to take in response to the onset of menopause.