Some pluses among negatives of Hormone Replacement Therapy
BY DR. LAURA BERMAN email@example.com October 9, 2013 4:54PM
Hormone replacement therapy was first used in the early 1960s. Since then millions of women have undergone HRT to help alleviate menopausal symptoms — hot flashes, low libido, weight gain and depression. The treatment helps to replace hormones such as estrogen, progestin and testosterone that naturally decrease during menopause.
Although many women report symptom relief as a result of hormone replacement therapy, the procedure can come with risks. In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative of the National Institutes of Health released findings that linked HRT with an increased incidence of breast cancer, heart attack and stroke.
Now, the Women’s Health Initiative has released more findings from another long-term study on HRT and its associated risks. Their findings again showed that hormone replacement therapy often poses more risks than benefits, particularly for those women who have a family history of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease.
However, the findings weren’t all negative. The study showed that HRT risks are lowest for women who receive the treatment during early menopause, and that women who greatly suffer from debilitating menopausal side effects might experience an improved quality of life that could be worth the risks associated with the treatment.
The bottom line is that women should only undergo HRT when absolutely necessary, and only in the smallest dose and for the shortest amount of time possible. Talk to your doctor about your family history and use caution and moderation when undergoing hormone replacement therapy — it’s a serious treatment that should only be used as a last resort.