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Now, hormone pill for 'happier and sexier' menopause

December 20, 2011 - London

A hormone pill will soon be able help women through menopause by alleviating menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, and even boost their sex lives, a new study has revealed.

The study for the first time indicated that low doses of DHEA, a hormone created in the body, could improve women's sexual satisfaction.

Doctors are calling for tests to determine whether it could eventually become an alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy for menopausal problems, the Daily Mail reported.

"These are interesting findings and we now need a bigger study," Dr John Stevenson, consultant metabolic physician at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and chairman of the charity Women's Health Concern, said.

"There is a demand for alternatives to HRT caused by safety fears which have since been overturned."

"But it's not possible yet to know whether DHEA is as safe as HRT or carries more risks, which is why we need larger trials."

The study by Italian researchers took into consideration 48 women suffering from menopausal symptoms.

Of these, 12 took only Vitamin D and calcium to improve their bone strength because they did not want HRT.

The rest 36 were divided into a group of 12 taking DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), and two others given standard HRT containing oestrogen and progesterone, or the synthetic steroid tibolone, also known as Livial.

After 12 months, all women taking hormone-replacement supplements showed improvements in menopausal symptoms, while those taking Vitamin D and calcium did not show any major improvement.

At the beginning of the trial, all groups had similar levels of sexual activity. After a year, women taking calcium and Vitamin D had a McCoy score - measuring aspects of sexuality likely to be affected by changing sex-hormone levels - of 34.9, while those using DHEA reached 48.6.

The higher score implied that women on DHEA had a statistically significant elevation in sexual interest and activity. The results for women using HRT were similar.

"This is a small study, a proof of concept. What we need to do now is to look at a larger study, to confirm these initial results are valid," study leader Professor Andrea Genazzani, of the University of Pisa, said.


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