Should You or Shouldn’t You? The Latest on Hormone Therapy for Women

November 4, 2010 at 8:36 pm

 

Since the early 90s, with varying headlines about studies linking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to an increased risk of breast cancer and heart attacks, many women stopped taking any form of HRT, switching to “natural” sources like herbal supplements, and opted to suffer through side effects of menopause—from mood swings to hot flashes to bone loss.

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Oct. 20, 2010) entitled “Estrogen Plus Progestin and Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Postmenopausal Women” follows up on the original Women’s Health Initiative report and concluded that “estrogen plus progestin was associated with greater breast cancer incidence, and the cancers are more commonly node-positive.”

What this article doesn’t say and what a lot of women don’t know is that there have been many advances in hormone replacement therapy in the past 20 years, including lower dose and different forms of estrogen and progesterone. A recent article by Drs. Oz and Roizen on RealAge.com, “Why Hormone Therapy Can Save Your Life,” outlines several options, including bioidentical estrogen and micronized progesterone, as well as adding an aspirin regimen and starting hormone therapy at a younger age.

In my practice, hormone therapy is part of a comprehensive program tailored to each woman’s individual health, symptoms, and test results. We’ve been using personalized bioidentical hormone optimization since it became available, along with fitness and nutritional recommendations, including supplements like fish oil to reduce platelet stickiness (which causes clogged arteries and increases risk of heart attack and stroke). This type of individualized treatment is safer than the standard estrogen-plus-progestin combinations that doctors have been prescribing to menopausal women for years. We continuously measure and monitor free hormone levels and prescribe accordingly—meaning no guess work for our patients.

Dr. Mickey Barber

And, as a patient myself, a 55-year-old post-menopausal female with a family history of breast cancer and heart disease, I can tell you from personal experience that individualized therapy has worked for me.

Make sure your decisions about hormone replacement are based on facts, not fear. Look at the big picture: more importantly what is your “big picture?” It’s time for women to step up and stop responding with fear to differing opinions and “medical expertise” offered up by various sources. Each woman is different and her health plan, hormone needs and treatments should be comprehensive and individualized.

Find out more about Cenegenics Age Management Program tailored for womens health here.

Categories: Age Management, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Uncategorized, Women’s Health.

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