Why Hormone Replacement Therapy May Not Be Right

Menopause could easily be one of the most challenging experiences that any woman may ever experience. Second only to the changes of motherhood, there are many variables that should be considered. The treatment decisions that are made about menopausal medical choices can impact a woman’s life, health and overall quality of life for the foreseeable future.

There are many different aspects to consider when choosing the level and type of intervention that are preferred for this time of life. Over the years, many women have chosen to follow the one-size-fits-all advice of their medical care providers. Unfortunately they may have done so as the result of a lack of information about other options that may be equally or more appropriate for their situation. Hormone replacement therapy, also known as HRT, is known to be a contributing factor to certain cancers and other medical problems, including bones that are at increased risk of breakage.

Bone loss, cancers and heart disease are three of the more frequent problems associated with menopause and all pose very serious risks. It is important for every woman experiencing menopause to make an informed decision about choosing the treatment plan that is best for her.

Why is HRT or Supplementing Naturally Such a Concern?

One of the most well-known health concerns about post-menopausal women relates to their increased risk of fractures. Although any fracture is obviously a problem, hip fractures are among the most serious and when they occur, will often result in long-term pain and disability. Therefore, preventing osteoporosis is absolutely crucial.

Osteoporosis is defined at the website for Oxford Dictionaries as a medical problem where the skeletal system experiences a reduced amount of tissue, which leads to brittle and fragile bones. It further elaborates that the hormonal changes and/or a deficiency of calcium of vitamin D causes the problem. As estrogen levels are reduced or eliminated, the likelihood of bone loss and fractures increases dramatically, regardless of age or onset of other symptoms.

Although that should never be acceptable under any circumstance, it can be an especially big problem for women who experience early menopause. There have been women in their teens or early adulthood who were forced into early menopause due to health problems. It is only logical that they are often at higher risk of long-term problems related to their hormonal fluctuations and imbalances.

Heart disease and endometrial cancers have often been linked with menopause. An alarming piece of information that may not always be discussed is that women who already are at risk of either of these concerns may be at an even higher risk if chemically produced hormones, as opposed to plant hormones, are used. That information has been established in multiple studies over many years, including a large one including more than 27,000 women in 2000 by the Women’s Health Initiative. It stated that in the first year of study, a clear risk of cardiovascular disease was proven.

The Terrifying Facts That May Not be Shared

Hormone replacement therapy presents with benefits and risks that should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and each woman should be fully educated in order to make the best decision. However, that does not always happen. Even with the advances of modern medicine, it is not unusual to be given replacement hormones as an expected part of menopause and never be given any information about any other possibilities.

There are several pieces of information that have been shared by the medical community over the years that have either been questioned or discredited. However, those inaccuracies continue to be believed by generations of women, which allows for needless suffering. Even a diminished post-menopausal existence for some otherwise healthy women is a known risk of these women forced into an early change of life.

One of the most common mistakes about menopause is that it is normal and expected for women to seemingly “shrink” with a noticeable reduction in height. In fact, that should be seen as a “red flag” of an underlying problem such as osteoporosis and immediate medical care is often necessary.

HRT was commonly prescribed for many years and only in more recent generations has its association with heart disease become a matter of public information. Given the extensive use of Hormone Replacement Therapy over many generations of women, there have obviously been multiple studies that focused on multiple aspects of its use.

For example, a study that closely followed approximately 3,000 post-menopausal women of different ages in 2002 established higher risks of heart disease when those women took HRT. The information published at that time and has been re-evaluated on numerous occasions since.

It should be understood that some of the numbers impacting the final results of that study have changed and there is a possibility that women in their 50’s are at an especially high risk of problems. However, the original findings continue to be accepted as fact for many women actively undergoing and those who have completed menopause.

Making That Final Decision

The ultimate decision as to choosing, denying or delaying use of HRT is significant and one that should be made between the patient and her medical care provider. In many cases, it is also helpful to include family members such as a spouse, domestic partner or mature children of any age who still live at home, if acceptable for the patient.

In addition, the perimenopausal experience is likely to vary tremendously from one woman to another. In the same way that some young girls seem to go through puberty with clear skin, no cramps and an even temperament, some women will have a similar experience many years later. Obviously, that means there are many women who will find it to be a difficult emotional and physical experience.

In that instance, it is often helpful to be willing to allow medical decisions, including Hormone Replacement Therapy, supplements or a combination of both to vary throughout the years. It is absolutely necessary to remember that perimenopause has been known to last for many years and to present with many different symptoms during that time.

That means that it would be impossible to classify all menopausal experiences,medication, medical decisions or most appropriate types of continuing care together. Therefore, consulting with an expert in menopause and making your own decisions is the only way to make appropriate life choices. Extensive research and accessing current information from a trusted source can make it easier to determine whether the risks of physician-provided hormone replacement therapy are worth it or if herbal supplements are a safer choice.

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