A decade ago a government study all but pulled the plug on using hormone replacement therapy to alleviate symptoms of menopause. It was felt HRT increased the risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer. After re-evaluating the data, doctors today are resuscitating the practice.
“It’s gone back to where it was initially before the big study, Women’s Health Study. It is acceptable now. And if you want good quality of life- that’s one of the options for you,” says Dr. Mala Singh, family practitioner with Lee Memorial Health System.
Female hormone replacement consists of estrogen and progesterone if a woman still has her uterus. They are used to replenish the system and get rid of troublesome symptoms.
“Decreased estrogen affects hot flashes, night sweats all the good stuff. A lot of women get to the point where they can’t sleep, they can’t function, they have a fog almost like a brain fog and they can’t work,” says Dr. Singh.
This time around- doctors are proceeding with caution. They found the best risk-ratio benefit when hormone replacement was started in women under 59 years old or within 10 years of menopause. Even then, therapy isn’t mean to last forever.
“At some point you’ll have to get off them. I think the recommendation is 4-5 years. And when you do get off them, you have to do it very slowly because again they are going to go through an un-natural menopause,” says Dr. Singh.
HRT is not recommended for women with active or past breast or endometrial cancer, history of blood clots or stroke, or liver disease.
“Talk to your primary care doctor; talk to your ob/gyn - because everyone is different, everyone has a different medical history. So this is not something for everybody it has to be very individualized,” says Dr. Singh.
Changing views on hormone replacement therapy may be a good option to help women through the change-of-life.
View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/
Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.
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