Hormone replacement therapy is generally used to boost estrogen and progesterone levels in women going through menopause. Normal levels of estrogen and progesterone help the body function more optimally, and can lower the risk of serious health conditions including osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer.
HRT has been widely used to treat menopause since the 1960s, but gained a negative reputation in 2002 when a study conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative found that HRT increased the risk for breast cancer. As a result, millions of women stopped using HRT. From 2001 to 2008, the number of U.S. women who used HRT plummeted by 67 percent from 17.9 million to 5.8 million.
However, new evidence shows that HRT is safer than previously thought, and is effective at reducing menopausal symptoms along with the risk for other serious health conditions.
Hormone therapy is not deadly
The new study, which was published in JAMA, shows that women who took HRT 18 years ago are not at greater risk for breast cancer today than women who did not take HRT. Of the 27,000 women who participated in the JAMA study, some were using HRT, while others took a placebo. About 27 percent of the study participants died during that time period: 27.1 percent of the HRT group, and 27.6 percent of the placebo group.
The findings suggest that HRT is not deadly, and is not tied to an increased risk of breast cancer as previously thought. Now, women can reconsider using HRT to improve their menopause symptoms, and to lower the risk for osteoporosis and other conditions brought on by decreased estrogen and progesterone levels.
Benefits of HRT
In addition to playing a major role in fertility and pregnancy, estrogen controls how the body uses calcium, which is why reduced estrogen levels can increase one’s risk for bone loss and osteoporosis. Estrogen also balances “good” HDL cholesterol levels to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Since menopause is driven mainly by a decrease in estrogen, HRT can help reduce common menopause and perimenopause symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, and irritability. Optimal hormone levels can also lend to weight loss, increased energy and strength, improved focus and sleep, and a more youthful-looking appearance.
Choosing the best HRT
While HRT may be safe for women to use in the treatment of menopause, certain therapies may be more effective than others at balancing hormones. Conventional HRT uses a formula derived from equine hormones, and has been linked to adverse side effects such as digestive problems, irregular vaginal bleeding, and gallbladder disease. On the other hand, bioidentical HRT uses hormones that mimic those in the human body to prevent the incidence of any adverse side effects.
Conventional HRT uses a one-size-fits-all approach to hormone replacement, and may provide some women with more estrogen or progesterone than they truly need — increasing the risk of health problems like breast cancer and endometrial cancer. But bioidentical HRT can be tailored to each individual woman to deliver the exact amount of hormones she needs to feel healthy, young, and energetic for years to come. If you are currently using HRT to balance your hormones, talk to your doctor about the benefits of switching to bioidentical HRT.
Are you experiencing menopausal symptoms and need help balancing your hormones? Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers offer BioMD Hormone Replacement Therapy so you can improve your health and energy levels, and benefit from a lowered risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis, and other conditions driven by low estrogen. Call us today for a no-cost consultation!