Structure and Function of the Female Reproductive System

Janice is 49 years old, is married, and has two teenage children. Over the last year, her periods tended to be irregular and heavier than usual. She also noticed intercourse was becoming more painful for her, and her interest in sex declined. She knew her mother was 51 when she reached menopause, and Janice was concerned about having the mood swings and hot flashes her mother had experienced. She phoned some of her friends to seek their advice. Some said she should try hormone therapy, while others said it was not a good idea at all. Other friends said she should use remedies like red clover tea and soy isoflavone supplements. Janice decided her best bet was to go to the local women’s health care clinic to discuss her options with a nurse.

  1. Using the data collected by the Women’s Health Initiative and the Nurses’ Health Study, why are some women at an increased risk for CHD and others are at a decreased risk when hormone therapy is prescribed?
  2. Why are alternative methods like red clover and some plant oils being promoted for the menopausal woman? What are the changes that occur in a woman’s reproductive organs when estrogen levels decline?
  3. How does estrogen affect bone growth during puberty? Why are postmenopausal women at risk for osteoporosis?