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What Is HarnettHormone Replacement Therapy?
HRT (also known as hormone therapy, menopausal hormone therapy, and estrogen replacement therapy) uses female hormones — estrogen and progesterone — to treat common symptoms of menopause and aging. Doctors can prescribe it during or after menopause.
After your period stops, your hormone levels fall, causing uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, and sometimes conditions like osteoporosis. Harnett HRT replaces hormones your body no longer makes. It’s the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy - An Innovative Approach to Hormone Therapy
With publicity about the dangers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) getting so much publicity, a lot of women are turning to herbs and supplements for hot flashes and other symptoms associated with menopause. Soy, black cohosh, Dong Quai root, and Evening primrose oil have all been promoted for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. But do they really work? An initial study of 104 postmenopausal women randomized to 40 g daily of soy or a placebo showed a statistically significant reduction in number of hot flashes that was greater for soy (45%) that was greater than the reduction obtained with placebo (30%). Another study of 351 women age 45-55 with two or more hot flash symptoms per day were randomly assigned to black cohosh, multibotanicals, multibotanicals plus dietary soy counseling, placebo or hormone therapy for one year. Only hormone therapy was associated with significant reductions in hot flashes. Taking dietary soy actually turned out to be less effective at stopping hot flashes than taking a placebo for one year.
Depression is mainly attributed to hormonal imbalance. During depression, serotonin, a chemical that is responsible for a person's mood, tends to drop. Low level of serotonin makes a person feel sad. On the other hand, high level of this chemical makes a person feel happy. The change in serotonin level is determined by estrogen hormones. Thus when estrogen level tends to decline, so does the production of serotonin. This hormonal imbalance is the reason behind depression. Managing depression means handling hormonal imbalance. This further means that Hormone Replacement Therapy can help people get out of their depression.
Doctors use synthetic hormones in Hormone Replacement Therapy. Synthetic hormones are created in laboratories rather than by the body. However, synthetic hormones used in Hormone Replacement Therapy act like natural hormones once inside the body. To treat depression, estrogen is restored by using synthetic estrogen. The synthetic estrogen will act like a natural one. The aim of Hormone Replacement Therapy is to replenish the level of estrogen in the body so that the level of serotonin will also increase. Once this is achieved, depression will not be an issue. As long as the level of estrogen is high, the person will not feel symptoms of depression.
It wasn't until 2002 that the true health risks of hormone replacement therapy were discovered and communicated openly. Up until that time, doctors routinely prescribed HRT to women who were experiencing any sort of menopause symptoms. The most common symptoms where HRT was used were for severe hot flashes and vaginal discomfort. Hot flashes for some women can be extreme where visible sweating occurs while the body attempts to cool it self off. Hot flashes tend to be most severe during the late evening and early in the morning. There are often accompanied by night sweats.
Before women agree to hormone replacement therapy, they need to be fully aware of the health risks associated with this treatment. The combination of estrogen and progestin, a popular HRT, can result in heart disease, blood clots, strokes, breast cancer and dementia. In fact, if you are a breast cancer survivor, any sort of hormone replacement therapy is discouraged strongly even if you suffer from severe menopause symptoms.
HRT is effective at reducing the severity of menopause symptoms as well as decreasing the risk of hip fractures from osteoporosis and colorectal cancer. If you opt to participate in HRT treatment, it is recommended that you go for the smallest dosage possible for the shortest length of time to reduce your risk of the above side effects.
The Dangers of Hormone Replacement Therapy
The economics of bioidentical hormones
Why doesn't modern medicine use bioidentical hormones (hormones identical to what our body makes) to "replace" what is missing? It's sad to say, but the main reason is that there is no money in it.
Pharmaceutical companies can only patent what they invent in a laboratory. They are not able to patent what Nature makes. And its only through holding a patent on a drug that they can mark up the price enough to make a good profit.
(The mark up on drugs like Premarin and Prempro is very high, with mark up on many drugs upwards of 10,000%. Premarin is available in Europe for $8.95/100, in Canada for $22.46/100 in the United States for $55.42. Price variations for Prempro are $5.75/28 in Europe, $14.33/28 in Canada and $31.09/28 in the United States). These price variations begin to reveal the profit margins pharmaceutical companies have with these drugs. They are really a cash cow for these companies.
So the medical profession insists on using what it is familiar with, and that is drugs. Bioidentical hormones are becoming more familiar to doctors, and more and more doctors are willing to prescribe them. But its far from the majority--many will not.
Why bother with bioidentical hormones? Wouldn't they have the same side effects as what doctors now prescribe. Doctors who use them say no, that they do not have the side effects and risks of drug HRT. While most women are already aware of the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, it may be helpful to look at the issue quickly.
Risks of HRT
Many studies have underscored the risks of HRT. The biggest is The Women's Health Initiative. The study followed 160,000 women between 1993 and 1998. It compared the health of women on different combinations of HRT with women who were not.
The study reported that the women on HRT had greater risk for a variety of health problems. The study showed that the women on HRT had a significantly increased risk for breast cancer, heart attack, stroke and blood clots. The study showed that HRT benefited some conditions, decreasing the risk of colorectal cancer and of hip fractures due to osteoporosis.
The Difference Between HRT Therapy Side Effects And Risks
Tender breasts or enlargement of breasts:
Men have some testosterone that gets converted to estrogen but normally isn't enough to cause estrogenic side effects such as gynecomastia (breast enlargement) But when taking supplemental doses of testosterone, particularly through hormone replacement therapy, much of it is converted to estradiol. The result of which, is feminized characteristics in men such as enlarge breasts.
There have been no reports of liver toxicity from transdermal testosterone replacement. However, for those on oral testosterone replacement, there have been a significant number of men reported to have developed liver problems. Incidentally, this is also the reason why all manufacturers of hormone replacement medications are now mentioning the possibility of liver failure when using their products.
One of the most important side effects of testosterone replacement therapy is the increase in the red blood cell mass and hemoglobin levels (Polycythemia). This is particularly true of older men as the increase of blood cell mass may lead to the possibility of heart attacks, strokes or peripheral clotting in the veins.
Hormone replacement therapy for men can cause prostate growth. Prostate growth can cause problems with urination or at worse, may promote the growth of cancerous prostate cells. It is noteworthy to state that prostate cancer is a common cancer for older men and the second most common cause of cancer deaths.