5 Experts Answer: Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Safe?
Each week, MyHealthNewsDaily asks the experts to answer questions about your health.
But theِ good news isِ that thereِ isِ definitelyِ a place a safe place forِ hormones.
The Women’s Health Initiative Study (WHI), whichِ began toِ provide good data inِ 2004, wasِ theِ firstِ study toِ slow theِ unfettered useِ ofِ hormones inِ the United States.
Based onِ the data gathered inِ the WHI, weِ knowِ that a woman’s risk ofِ heart attack, stroke andِ development ofِ breast cancer isِ increased , particularlyِ afterِ more thanِ fiveِ years ofِ hormone useِ (although theِ greatest risk ofِ heart attack isِ inِ the firstِ year ofِ use).
Joseph Ragaz, medical oncologist andِ clinical professor ofِ medicine inِ the School ofِ Population & Public Health atِ the University ofِ British Columbia inِ Canada: Estrogen alone forِ breast cancer isِ highly protective, andِ if itِ isِ taken forِ women lessِ than age 60 andِ that’s theِ age whenِ hormone replacement therapy withِ estrogen shouldِ beginِ it’sِ very safe.
It isِ safe moreِ safe thanِ originally reported, andِ much moreِ safe thanِ people perceive.
Now forِ hormone replacement therapy thatِ includes progestin Provera, that’sِ muchِ moreِ problematic becauseِ for thisِ particularِ agent, itِ doesn’tِ have theِ sameِ safety profile asِ estrogen alone.
Neil Goodman, chairman ofِ the Reproductive Medicine Committee ofِ the American Association ofِ Clinical Endocrinologists andِ professor ofِ medicine atِ the University ofِ Miami inِ Florida: It hasِ to beِ anِ individual decision based onِ a medical evaluation ofِ risk, andِ there areِ several times whereِ women shouldِ feel thatِ it’sِ safe.
The lesson fromِ the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) isِ ifِ you haven’tِ hadِ a period forِ more thanِ 10 years, thereِ areِ risks involved withِ starting hormone replacement therapy] thatِ areِ very hard toِ evaluate.
The firstِ thing women thinkِ aboutِ is theِ breast cancer risk.
Thomas, professor andِ director ofِ the Division ofِ Reproductive Endocrinology andِ Infertility atِ the University ofِ Cincinnati inِ Ohio: In myِ opinion, hormone replacement therapy HRT] isِ a safe alternative forِ patients inِ the perimenopause orِ menopause.
Though theِ patients withِ anِ intact uterus usingِ HRT withِ estrogen andِ a continuous progestin showed anِ increase inِ breast, clotting andِ cardiovascular problems, thereِ was noِ increase inِ breast problems withِ theِ estrogen-only group withoutِ a uterus.
From this, youِ canِ assume thatِ ifِ you doِ not takeِ estrogen inِ the patients withoutِ a uterus andِ if youِ space outِ the useِ ofِ progestins toِ 10 toِ 12 days eachِ month orِ 12 days everyِ other month, youِ mayِ indeedِ negate anyِ risk ofِ breast problems.
Buster, professor ofِ obstetrics andِ gynecology atِ Warren Alpert Medical School atِ Brown University, andِ associate director ofِ the Division ofِ Reproductive Endocrinology atِ the Women & Infant’s Hospital ofِ Rhode Island: Up toِ 75 percent ofِ the 37 million women inِ the United States atِ or nearِ menopause experience symptoms ofِ estrogen withdrawal, primarily hot flashes.
Hot flashes areِ a significant quality ofِ life issue becauseِ many ofِ these women experience associatedِ debilitating symptoms: depression, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, dysfunctional family andِ workplace relationships, lowِ professional productivity andِ loss ofِ self esteem.
Most recentِ regimens exploit low-dose delivery ofِ natural estradiol (the depleted hormone) throughِ theِ microcirculation ofِ the skin givenِ asِ patches, gels orِ sprays.