Menopause – a period of hot flashes, inadequate sleep and mood changes – can be a tricky time for any woman. Menopause is a natural and normal stage of life that’s as automatic as puberty, and programmed to each woman’s body. However, a question many women have in their mind as they’re entering menopause is how to safely and efficiently manage menopause symptoms, go natural, try hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or do nothing.
My private undertaking with Solutions for Women is to help women better understand confusing information about hormone replacement therapy options including bioidentical hormone treatment. Are the risks of taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause real? The answer is yes and clinically proven many times over to damage to some women’s health.
Taking hormone replacement therapy was associated with elevated rates of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, blood clots, and memory loss. Most recently HRT has also been associated with lung cancer.
These dangers were revealed with the abrupt closure of the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study. In 2008 the WHI also reported on a study which confirmed that the risk for developing breast cancer doubles after 5 decades of taking HRT. After the WHI results were released to the general public in 2002, prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy decreased by more than 60 percent. Two decades later there was a dramatic decline in the amount of new cases of breast cancer reported.
This fall in breast cancer was seen in women over 50 who are the candidates for hormone replacement as a treatment for the symptoms of menopause. Many specialists account the unforeseen shift in the numbers of women developing breast cancer to women refusing to take artificial hormones (HRT). The FDA and the WHI both agree that the health risks of HRT outweigh any potential benefit. It doesn’t seem that HRT in any form is secure for women to choose for menopause symptom relief, or some other reason.
There is also no evidence that Bioidentical Hormones are any safer than conventional HRT. Many physicians still prescribe low-dose HRT just for women with severe hot flashes and just for a brief time period, approximately 1 year. The issue is that most women who stop taking HRT discover that their hot flashes return and typically will be more severe. You shouldn’t ever feel pressured into taking hormone replacement therapy of any sort.