Hormone Replacement Therapy in a Nutshell

After two years of running around to several doctors, gynecologists , and so called “Hormone Specialists”, I have concluded that when it comes to hormone replacement for bothersome menopausal symptoms (whether custom-compounded bioidenticals, FDA-approved conventional bioidentical hormone therapies or synthetic hormone therapies), it is far wiser to ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION!
We just don’t know what the long term health implications of taking HRT (estradiol and progesterone) will be, the science just isn’t there yet! Yes, it’s been ten years since the negative results came back from the Women’s Health Initiative trials, and yet there is still much confusion on the topic of hormone therapy to ease the symptoms of menopause. Because the WHI used horse-derived estrogen, and synthetic progesterone , some practitioners have questioned whether “bio-identical” hormones or over-the-counter herbal remedies might be safer? Currently, the experts say that there is no way to know yet! You may still risk getting breast cancer, heart disease and blood clots with any of these therapies.
I would urge any woman who is considering HRT to do her research, and not to be taken in by charlatans who want you to take several expensive blood and saliva tests, then put you on high doses of “natural “compounded  hormones. These hormones may come from soy or wild yams, but they are still synthesized in a pharmaceutical lab, and your body recognizes them simply as estrogen,progesterone, or testosterone. There is no evidence that these bioidenticals are any safer than conventional methods of HRT. Although, few doctors these days will prescribe the synthetics like Prempro or Premarin (made from horse urine) because they were proven to cause breast cancer. Today, new safer conventional hormone therapies  are available that are also much more economical and yet considered  bioidentical (same molecular structure as your own hormones). The Vivelle transdermal patch, and Prometrium pill are examples of these bioidenticals.
I have simplified lately….but because my symptoms were soooo severe, I decided to take the risk and try the estrogen transdermal patch, plus a gel cap of progesterone in the evenings. The patch is 1 mg. and can be worn on buttock cheeks for up to a week. Because I still have a uterus, I must also take  progesterone (Prometrium). It will help shed the lining of uterus, thus avoiding any risk of uterine cancer. Both of these have REALLY HELPED relieve my hot flashes, dry burning vagina, irritability, disrupted sleep and discomfort with sex. They are also covered by my insurance, and are the new conventional FDA-approved bioidentical hormones I talked about earlier. The experts seem to agree that short term use of HRT is acceptable (under five years), if monitored, continuing annual mammograms and follow ups with a doctor.
Anyway ladies, bottom line…we all experience menopause differently, and must do what we feel is best under the circumstances. Be careful and follow your instincts, your body will tell you what it needs…listen to it!  Your quality of life has to be a priority too.
My advice to you, if you choose HRT  to help you through menopause , start it earlier than later into menopause, use the lowest dose possible for symptom relief, and do that for the shortest amount of time!
Good reference sites: www.menopause.org.
www.redhotmamas.org

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