Traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Under Scrutiny What are the Alternatives?
(AZ Networking News, October/Nov 2002 issue)
What’s all the commotion about? The results of a 5.2 year study published in the Arizona Republic Newspaper and many papers across the country reveal the effects of traditional hormone replacement therapy on women. The results raise a number of questions for women and their health. The Women’s Health Initiative, an initiative designed to study a number of women’s health issues of more that 160,000 women, and funded by the National Institute of Health, tested the effects of HRT on some 16,608 women. Women were asked to discontinue HRT or placebo (a non-therapeutic agent) in the study after 5.2 years. Why were they asked to discontinue participation in a long-awaited study of the long-term effects of HRT? The results of the study were not favorable and have left many women feeling unsafe and fearful of hormone replacement therapy. Results of the 5.2 year long study revealed women taking two common HRT medications in combination, Premarin in the amount of 0.625mg per day and Povera at 2.5 mg per day were specifically shown to increase the risk of non-fatal heart attacks, strokes, lung and leg clots. In addition, results from the study revealed HRT increases the risk of breast cancer and coronary heart disease.
If you are confused about what to do, there are alternatives to traditional HRT drug treatment. Natural hormone replacement therapy, Chinese medicine & acupuncture, botanicals, such as Black Cohosh, diet and lifestyle modifications separately or in combination may offer symptom relief and long-term prevention of age-related disease. In addition, some doctors are trained in formulating an individualized hormone replacement regime, using friendlier forms of estrogen to provide symptoms relief as well as lowering risk of disease-related illnesses. Taking an integrative approach may offer you many more options than previously known.
Get all the facts! Sit down with an educated practitioner to assess your risk factors for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (especially breast, uterine, and colon cancer). If you are concerned about your risk factors or are already experiencing common symptoms of menopause, such as, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, irregular periods, vaginal dryness, and forgetfulness, it is time to consult with an educated health professional. Alternatives to traditional HRT may offer you not only symptom relief but long-term disease prevention. There are a plethora of choices – one that is right for you. Remember, menopause is a time of empowerment, so, get all the facts so you can make an informed decision about your health and well-being.