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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.
Menopause and Bladder Control, Kegel Exercises Used in Alternative HRT
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), for men, is a treatment applied to those with unusually low testosterone levels. This type of HRT is more commonly known as testosterone replacement therapy.
HRT, generally, is a medication that contains synthetic hormones that can be taken either orally or transdermally. Testosterone replacement medications are essentially anabolic steroids sold legally.
When we say anabolic steroids, we mean those used by athletes to improve strength and muscle mass. They are basically illegal and they can cause serious health problems. Today, they are sold legally in the form of supplements and hormone replacements. Supplements can be purchased freely over the Internet while hormone replacements require a doctor's prescription. Legal or illegal, these supplements and hormone replacements can cause serious health problems.
HRT for men, in particular, can cause a number of harmful side-effects. Contrary to what is generally advertised by drug companies, hormone replacement therapy is not safe. From fluid retention to prostate growth, hormone replacement therapy can be considered one of the most harmful treatments sold legally in the market today.
Side Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
A point of confusion for some people is the difference between side effects and risks when taking a prescriptive drug. This is certainly true when it comes to hormone replacement therapy or HRT. HRT refers to synthetic hormones prescribed primarily to relieve menopause related complaints such as hot flashes, night sweats, erratic periods, excessive bleeding during perimenopause, etc.
Risks associated with HRT
There are long term risks associated with taking prescriptive hormones as part of replacement therapy. You may have taken prescriptive hormones for years with no side effects whatsoever, and they may have dramatically relieved your menopausal hot flashes, sweats and other complaints. Yet you are now at greater risk for a variety of serious illnesses including breast cancer, uterine cancer, stroke and heart attack to name a few. These are the risks associated with HRT. Research studies have found so many serious risks associated with hormone replacement therapy that most medical doctors are unwilling to routinely prescribe hormone replacement for relief of menopause related complaints. Rightly so, they don't want to put their patient's at risk for life threatening conditions.
Let's look more closely at the risks associated with replacement therapy. Much of our knowledge of these risks comes from the Women's Health Initiative, a study that tracked the health of thousands of women, some taking hrt and others not. The study was eventually stopped as it became clear that there was a dramatically increased risk of breast cancer among the women undergoing HRT. Because of the complex nature of the study, the results are difficult to summarize succinctly. Numerous other studies have also clarified the risks and benefits associated with hormone replacement. Here is a broad picture of the level of risk associated with hormone replacement, followed by the benefits.
Hormone replacement therapy risks
- Breast cancer risk increased by 24 percent with combined estrogen / progestin HRT
- Risk of ischemic stroke increased by 41 percent with medium to high dose HRT, but much less risk with ultra low dose hormone replacement
- Heart attack risk increases by 29 percent for those taking HRT
- Slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer when only estrogen is taken for more than 10 years
- Twenty-one percent increased risk of kidney stones
- Higher risk of developing gall stones
Hormone replacement benefits
- Relief of menopause related complaints
- Increases bone density
- Reduces risk for colon-rectal cancer
- Decreases risk of macular (eye) degeneration and loss of vision associated with aging
The side effects of HRT
Side effects are generally considered to be any temporary complaints that are experienced while taking a drug. Side effects often resolve soon after stopping the medication. Using this description, the side effects of hormone replacement are not well known. These side effects vary depending on which combination of hormones one is taking and the specific synthetic forms used. Some of the more common side effects of prescriptive forms of estrogen, progesterone and combinations of both are as follows.
- Breast pain, enlargement and tenderness is associated with the stimulatory effect of estrogen
- Nausea and vomiting with the use of estrogen HRT taken by mouth
- Vaginal bleeding can occur in association with oral estrogen
- Darkened skin spots tend to occur on the face
- Headaches of a migraine type are associated with taking synthetic progesterone or progestins
- Depression is a common complaint that is found to be a result of taking progestins
- Greasy skin and acne are also associated with progestin use
Women are wisely looking for alternatives to hormone replacement. Fearing the risks associated with it, added to the side effects of prescriptive hormones, they are not too excited by it. Researchers and academics argue for and against hormone replacement.
The author's of a 2008 study titled the Women's International Study of Long-Duration Oestrogen after the Menopausesuggested that their study demonstrated such significant benefits for relief of menopause complaints that HRTshould be reconsidered by many women.
One of their colleagues (not an author of the study) reviewed the results of their study and came up with the opposite conclusion. Underscoring her concerns regarding the risks of hormone replacement therapy, Professor Anne Kavanagh of the University of Melbourne recently countered their claims as to the benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Professor Kavanagh points out that the study did not show and overall improvement in the "quality of life" for women in the study.
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.
What You Should Know About Menopause and Bioidentical Hormones
Before starting upon testosterone replacement therapy, men need to have their prostate examined. This particular examination, typically conducted by urologists is to understand the condition of the prostate gland which is prone to cancer. Whilst cancer of the prostate is very common and usually harmless, any kind of irregularities, hypertrophy, or even urinary complaints must be identified and dealt with prior to beginning testosterone treatment.
Specifically, men need a PSA (prostate gland specific antigen) blood-work test. If the test's values are found to be raised, then a PSA-2 test may be ordered that may determine prostatic hypertrophy. Androgenic hormone not an option in men diagnosed with prostate cancer because testosterone may well aggravate the condition.
Men should continue doing this prostate and PSA testing every 6 months after the commencement of Testosterone Replacement Therapy or as directed by their doctor.
Androgenic hormone or testosterone is secreted by the testes the entire day and is metabolized by heavy physical work and stress. It is therefore normal for doctors to order the blood be drawn in the morning when life's demands have not yet affected the body's level. Further, it is normal for the doctor to do 2 blood tests over a period of time to take an average reading.
Once it has been determined that a testosterone deficiency does in fact exist, and that there are no prostate cancer risks preventing replacement therapy, decisions can be made about what is the best way to administer the treatment.
Sally, one of my senior colleagues was in her mid forties when she experienced night sweat for the first time in her life. It was cold inside, yet she was all covered up with sweat. The story does not end there; she shares with us more of her experiences like depression, anxiety, hot flash, vaginal dryness, low sex drive and few more. Well, sally was going through the symptoms of menopause. It literally meant a sudden 'change of life' for her. She suddenly started look different and started talking about strange things like 'getting everything in order'. Any way, the cheery, confident Sally was gone and as if a different person came to work with us. It was evident that Sally failed to accept this natural transition of life with grace. It was then somebody broached the topic of hormone therapy to Sally. After a brief phase of indecision, sally decided in favor of hormone replacement therapy and today she is her active, enterprising self again and most importantly finally she came to realize that menopause meant only the end of reproductive life of a woman; it is not the end of life.
So what does a hormone therapy mean that brought about such a positive change in the life of Sally and why only Sally? Millions of women all across the USA, every year take recourse to the hormone replacement therapy to live a life happier and healthier in their post menopausal days.
No matter by what name you call it-- Hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy or ovarian hormone therapy, it is a treatment involving the use of estrogen and progesterone to supplement the declining levels of these hormones in female body during the days of menopause. The modern medical sciences are of the opinion that the term , "hormone replacement therapy" is contradictory to the very spirit of the treatment as the name suggests that menopause is a disease caused by hormone deficiency. But menopause is just a natural phase of a woman's reproductive life and the entire life cycle as puberty is. So the term "hormone therapy" has become more popular over time.
Menopause is natural, but it is not that easy to deal with its symptoms. So it is no wonder that more and more American women are considering a hormone treatment as they reach the menopausal period in their 40's and 50's. But giving a consideration and taking the actual decision are not same and so there are considerable dilemma between the thinking and ultimately taking the decision. Most of the women swing between the question: to do or not to do? They can not be blamed for this indecision for making an informed decision about hormone therapy is difficult. One comes to read about so many benefits of this therapy only to be contradicted by a sea of risk factors written in another book or magazine or website. So before taking the decision you have to weigh carefully the pros and cons of this treatment.
However, there are some women who are not considered ideal candidate for hormone therapy. They include the Women with certain conditions should not take hormone therapy. These include the women diagnosed with breast cancer, active liver disease, a history of blood clots or vaginal bleeding without any apparent reason.
Any decision regarding hormone therapy must be taken after through discussion with your physician who will decide after taking into consideration such factors as your age, medical history, overall health and Current symptoms.
What You Should Know About Menopause and Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones are often touted as the natural alternative to HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) which is the synthetic version of a female's hormones. Bioidentical refers to the progesterone and estrogen that is supposedly identical to the hormones a female's body produces. When a women enters menopause or experiences some other hormonal depletion, many doctors will prescribe hormone replacement therapy as a treatment to the varied symptoms that can accompany hormonal deficiencies.
Because of the dangers associated with HRT, many women have searched for an alternative, which to date, has been bioidentical hormones. This type of hormone compound is usually made in pharmacies that specialize in producing compounds that are regulated for each woman's identical hormone level. Pharmacies that process these compounds are not federal or state regulated so it's never certain as to the quality and consistency of dosages.
The baby boomer generation of women has been the biggest reason for the demand of a more natural way to replace depleting hormones at menopause. Also, this generation is more demanding of natural alternatives to synthetically derived treatments and want a more natural approach that may promise less side effects. The celebrity driven bioidentical conversation has also fueled the demand as many women see famous people who look 20 years younger than their real age.
Some issues to think about when considering the use of natural hormones is the fact that even though bioidenticals are naturally derived, they are still hormones that can affect the body in not only positive but negative ways as well. Also, for women who are impressed with various celebrities who recommend these treatments as a new fountain of youth, remember that celebrities have unlimited access to cosmetic surgeries and other physical assistance to help them achieve the illusion of looking younger.
It is true that natural hormones do not have the synthetic makeup of HRT compounds, but there are still risks as well as benefits associated with their use. Before making your decision about hormonal issues, it is wise to consult with one or more healthcare professionals who can provide a detailed plan for your best health.