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What Is BelvilleHormone 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. Belville HRT replaces hormones your body no longer makes. It’s the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms.
Every Woman's Guide to Menopause and the Importance of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
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.
Many doctors and patients have been concerned about reports that estrogen replacement raises the risk of cancer, but is not be the case, if done properly.
When progesterone is given along with estrogen for ten or more days per cycle, it not only eliminates the risk of this cancer but may actually reduce it beyond that which occurs spontaneously. Researchers suggest that the progestin was the good guy in combination of estrogen in hormone replacement therapy, first stimulating mitosis, or breast cell division, followed by the reverse, apoptosis. They speculate that a combined continuous regimen of estrogen and progestin could counteract the cell division needed to produce a cancer.
Women on estrogen therapy have a lower risk of dying from breast cancer than those who do not take hormones.
Estrogen alone has been shown to protect against coronary heart disease, lower cholesterol, and preserve brain function. Estrogen replacement not only sharpens memory and lifts the spirit, but it helps protect against Alzheimer's and shows promise as a treatment for the disease. Estrogen and progesterone work in tandem in the body premenopausally and, increasingly, physicians believe that both hormones should be replaced postmenopausally.
Progesterone alone breaks down fat, increases energy through fat loss, protects against endometrial and breast cancer, improves mood and sexual function, and normalizes the levels of blood sugar, zinc, and copper.
The overall beneficial effects of combined estrogen-progesterone replacement make a good case for multihormonal replacement therapy.
By combining these hormones with DHEA and melatonin, both of which have an anti-cancer effect, and growth hormone that stimulates the natural killer cells that fight cancer, you may be able to enjoy all the health-giving, age-reversing benefits of female sex hormone replacement while lowering the risk of cancer. It is important to see a physician regarding this to make sure it is medically monitored and done properly.
Herbs and Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms - Is there Any Evidence of Benefit?
As a woman ages, it is a given fact that she will be hitting her menopause some time in her mid forties. It is also a given that a number of physical and psychological changes accompany this event. Thinning hair, dry skin and wrinkles are some of the effects of menopause. But, what about men? Do they experience something similar?
According to many doctors, many men experience a number of symptoms that are directly associated with their age. As a practicing doctor in Dublin, Ireland put it, men too suffer from a list of problems peculiar to aging. This includes:
* Flailing energy levels
* Depleting sex drive
* Erectile dysfunction
* Increased fat in the midriff area
* Decreased muscle mass
* Falling strength
* A tendency to fall asleep during the day
This is called andropause.
Fall in the production of testosterone contributes to these problems in a big way. This is when doctors recommend testosterone replacement therapy. The average age of men seeking relief from these symptoms ranges from forty to seventy five, which only goes to prove how popular these therapies are.
Although testosterone replacement therapy is quite old, there have been significant changes in the therapy in the last decade. In the past, a patient seeking this therapy had to undergo a battery of tests. Not only were these tests expensive but at times, they were also unreliable because testosterone level indicated in the blood is difficult to interpret. That is why there are different methods to evaluate and assess the need for this therapy in men. These days, a more pragmatic approach is used to assess the need for therapy. This includes a questionnaire where the patient has to write answers for the purpose of evaluation.
Every Woman's Guide to Menopause and the Importance of Hormone Replacement Therapy (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