Friday, January 23, 2009

Menopause- Don't be too quick to believe Oprah!

This week the TV and papers have been full of stories about menopause and hormone therapy.
I have myself done some research on the internet, and have found that 9 our of 10 articles are full of the negative side effects of hormone therapy.

I am getting closer to 50, and really haven’t had any real problems with menopause. I think, and feel my hormones are pretty well balanced. I don’t have sleeping problems, and no hot flashes. Yesterday Oprah’s show was on hormone therapy, and she had invited 2 guests to talk about it. It was an interesting and informative show, but I really feel it was all to one sided. And not really talking about the negative effects of using hormone therapy. We women need to be really careful with out bodies! And people and shows like Oprah can do more harm that help to many of us, because she is so convincing!!

My own experiences say, go to the gym first! If you have tried, dieting, and intense exercise, and getting your self in shape first, and doing this for one year too! And then; after that if you are still having real problems with your hormone imbalances then try other drastic stuff.. but diet and exercise is and should be the first real step, and way healthier too! I’m feeling so much better now, a year later because of my drastic change in diet and exercise regime!

Pills and potions are for the lazy and looking for quick fix!
( I bought Robin McGraw's book yesterday, and when I'm finished reading it, I will also write in my blog about her advice, also with looking at BOTH sides of the story!)

Here are some quotes and results of my research, as to why NOT to undergo hormone therapy.

Contrary to common belief, recent research has confirmed that women who take commonly prescribed doses of hormone therapy (HT) are no more likely to gain weight than women not taking hormone therapy (HT). This is probably because menopause or aging itself is associated with weight gain, regardless of hormone therapy.

The more serious health concerns for women undergoing hormone therapy (HT) include:

  • Hormone therapy (HT) increases the risk of vein clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis ) and blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolus) by about 2 or 3 fold. However, it is important to remember that these conditions are extremely rare in healthy women. Thus, the true increase in risk for healthy women is minimal. Women with a personal or family history of these clots should review this issue when considering hormone therapy (HT).

  • Uterine Cancer (endometrial cancer): Research shows that women who have their uterus and use estrogen alone are at risk for endometrial cancer. Today, however, most doctors prescribe the combination of estrogen and progestin. Progestin protects against endometrial cancer. If there is a particular reason why a woman with a uterus cannot take some form of progesterone, her doctor will take sample tissue from her uterus (endometrial biopsy) to check for cancer annually while she is taking estrogen. Women without a uterus (including women who have had a hysterectomy) have no risk of endometrial cancer.

  • Breast cancer: Recent research indicates that hormone therapy (HT), and especially EPT, increases the risk of breast cancer, although the increase in risk is very small. For example, the Women's Health Initiative, a reliable large study of hormone therapy (HT) in menopausal women, predicted that there were approximately 8 extra cases per 10,000 women who took hormone therapy (HT) for 1 year, compared to women taking a placebo pill. The increase in risk of breast cancer associated with hormone therapy (HT) likely increases with duration of use and is especially increased with 5 or more years of use.
  • Heart disease: Even though hormone therapy (HT) lowers the bad LDL cholesterol and raises the good HDL cholesterol, hormone therapy (HT) increases the risk of heart attacks in women who already have heart disease, as well as in women who do not have known heart disease. Hormone therapy (HT) does not prevent heart attack based on recent research from the Women's Health Initiative.

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding: Women on hormone therapy (HT) are more likely than other postmenopausal women to experience abnormal vaginal bleeding. What is called "abnormal bleeding" depends on the type of hormone therapy (HT). With cyclic therapy, in which 5monthly bleeding is expected, bleeding is abnormal if it occurs when it is not expected or is excessively heavy or long in duration. With daily continuous therapy, irregular bleeding can last for 6 months to a year, therefore, irregular bleeding that lasts for more than a year is considered abnormal. When abnormal bleeding occurs, a doctor usually takes a sample of the lining of the uterus to rule out an abnormality or cancer in the uterus. This procedure is usually done in the office. After the evaluation is done, if nothing is found to be wrong, hormone therapy (HT) doses will often be adjusted to minimize further abnormal bleeding.
  • Stroke: Hormone therapy (HT) slightly increased the risk of stroke in women studied in the Women's Health Initiative. The WHI predicted that there were 8 extra strokes per 10,000 women taking hormone therapy (HT) for one year, compared to women taking a placebo (sugar pill). Because of the possibility of increased breast cancer, stroke, and heart disease risks, women who have no major menopause symptoms may choose to avoid hormone therapy (HT). The effects of other types of hormone therapy (HT) (aside from the Women's Health Initiative types) on breast cancer risk are still unclear.

Hormone Therapy At A Glance

  • Hormone Therapy (HT) refers to either estrogen or combination estrogen /progesterone treatment.

  • Estrogen therapy is the most highly effective prescription medication for treating menopause symptoms and in light of recent research is still safe and effective for many women when used for fewer than 5 years.

  • Estrogen therapy reduces or eliminates several symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, disturbed sleep resulting from hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.

  • Other safe and effective non-hormonal medications exist to address a woman's concerns regarding osteoporosis.

  • The use of estrogen therapy, without progesterone (progestin), is associated with an increase in the risk of uterine cancer (endometrial cancer, cancer of the lining of the uterus).

  • Treatment with progesterone along with estrogen substantially reduces the risk of uterine cancer (endometrial cancer) so that the risk of developing this cancer is equivalent to that of women not taking estrogen.

  • Users of oral hormone therapy (HT) (in the doses of the Women's Health Initiative) for more than 5 years are at slightly increased risk of breast cancer risk, heart disease, and stroke than are nonusers.

    This research is from


Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy,
Here in Holland hormone treatment is not very popular. Women tend to check ou the alternative methods like homeopathic medication first, because it doesn't focus on just the medical diagnosis. Many alternative treatments look at the complete picture. I'm getting nearer MP too, feeling a racing heasrt besat every now and then; and many of my female colleagues have fallen victim to the random troubles like heavy sweating, depression, anger, mood swings etc. Some of them tried hormones, but most of them stopped using them because it made them feel sicker. It isn't easy to get the right balance, it seems. Hang in there, girls. a bit of female solidarity wouldn't hurt either.

Anonymous said...

Since the news reports came out linking hormones to breast cancer.

Many women quit taking their hormone treatment and there was a 10% drop in breast cancer.

This was reported in mid 2007.

Hilda said...

Don't be afraid of hormones. You produce them yourself. They improved my life with 100%.

Alena said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.