I am sure you have heard a lot of information in the news about hormone therapy (HT). The official name is Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT), but if you don’t mind, let’s stick with calling it HT.
If you are scared of HT, I get it.
The 2002 Women’s Health Initiative reporting significantly impacted women’s perception of hormone therapy. Menopause Specialists have spent the past 21 years trying to re-educate women and provide them with “a more nuanced understanding” of the benefits and risks.
The initial WHI report was blasted all over the news in sound bites, resulting in women equating hormone therapy to breast cancer and heart disease. This had women throwing out their HRT – going cold turkey without their hormones. Who would want to mess with a woman going cold turkey off her hormones??? Yikes!
A new study has found that Hormone Therapy can have many health benefits. These include reducing symptoms like hot flashes, boosting energy levels, increasing bone density to protect against osteoporosis, protecting against heart disease by improving lipid levels, preventing coronary artery blockage, and brain health protection. In addition, HT can improve mood, reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, and alleviate vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, and recurrent urinary tract infections.
Here are some key points for discussion:
The initial study was done on postmenopausal women whose average age was 63. Women up to the age of 79 were included in the study.
Wouldn’t it have been better if they had studied the symptom-laden, much younger woman to see how hormone therapy helped her symptoms and prevented diseases like osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s, etc?
Older women in their 60s who have never been on hormone therapy may have plaque buildup due to a lack of estrogen for years. If you give them estrogen – some plaque may dislodge and cause heart issues.
A woman’s age also made a difference in their risks, with women in their 50s at lower risk than those in their 60s and 70s. Since the age of starting menopause matters, we now know that it is best to begin HT within ten years of menopause.
We now know that women who start HT before age 60 and within ten years of menopause have a reduction in coronary artery disease!
They found that women who took estrogen-only had decreased breast cancer.
Women in the study who took non-bioidentical progestin had a 1% increase in breast cancer. In statistical terms, this is considered an inconsequential risk.
Today women are taking bioidentical progesterone, made to be identical to what their body produces. The risks are different.
Let me explain the breast cancer risk in another way. The researchers stressed the following:
- Some women who never take HT will still get breast cancer.
- If 10,000 women in their 50s had never taken HT, 26 would still get breast cancer in a year.
- If all 10,000 women had recently taken combined HT for less than five years, 35 would get breast cancer.
- So, in this large group of women, HT is linked to nine extra breast cancer cases in a year.
- That is less than one in a thousand women.
So, ladies no need to suffer. Trust how you feel and reach out and get the help you need and deserve. Your quality of life matters!
Please- please- please go to a menopause specialist for hormone therapy. I have lots of tips on how to find a menopause specialist here. If you have a uterus, you need estrogen and progesterone. If you don’t have a uterus, you only need estrogen therapy.
After evaluating your symptoms, overall health, and family medical history, your menopause specialist can help determine the risks vs. benefits of HT.
I hope this updated information helps you to base your healthcare decisions on facts instead of fear!!!
My Motto: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
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