Hormone replacement therapy, halted for many women decades ago because of cancer fears, has been found to be an effective and safe treatment for post-menopausal women in a new study that suggests earlier warnings were overblown.
Since 2002, most women were advised to stop HRT because research suggested it could increase the risk for breast cancer, as well as heart attacks and stroke.
What had been a generally accepted treatment for symptoms of menopause was stopped and women were left to deal with hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, diabetes, arthritis and other illnesses brought on by menopause.
But Dr. Erika Schwartz, a New York-based specialist in hormone replacement therapy and author of "The New Hormone Solution," noted a follow-up study recently reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no significant rise in the risk of premature deaths in 27,000 women who took HRT, compared to those who took placebos.
“There was never a link to breast cancer,” Schwartz explained. “The Women’s Health Initiative, or WHI, was a government study, but funded by pharmaceutical companies. Although there was no correlation between HRT and a risk of breast cancer, since 2002, the medical establishment has been telling people there is a connection with risk of breast cancer.”
The study, Schwartz said, was flawed from the beginning, and it deprived women of hormones that could have helped them.
“Seven million women went without hormones,” Schwartz said. “This sped up the aging process and they suffered with the symptoms of menopause, hot flashes and weight gain, etc. All of this leads to increased risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. There never was any data that supports that hormones were bad for you.”
Schwartz’s first book, “The First Hormone Solution,” came out in 2003 and explained how hormone imbalances affect women. Her latest book, “The New Hormone Solution,” was published in June 2017 and covers the last 15 years.
Through her research Schwartz reached the conclusion that HRT is better for most women than not taking hormones, but bio-identical hormones are the best option for boosting health.
“Bio-identical hormones molecularly look exactly like the hormones our bodies make, but non human-identical hormones have different side effects,” she said.
“They come in different ways – pills, patches and creams – but they all have the same active ingredient.”
Women should look for a doctor who understands the importance of this kind of hormone therapy, and who is prepared to customize treatment to an individual patient.
Birth control is made from non human-identical hormones that suppress normal hormone production.
The original WHI study only looked at one kind of hormone replacement therapy, and came to the conclusion that hormones could cause breast cancer. The latest study, which hasn’t been widely covered by the media, is of more importance than the first study, according to Schwartz.
“They made it look like it wasn’t of any consequence,” she said, “but women needed to hear this. They aren’t getting breast cancer from hormones.”
How do you know when to start talking to your doctor about HRT?
- Menopause is considered to start when you have one year without a period.
- It actually begins much earlier.
- Women should start to talk to their doctors at about age 40.
- The earlier you are treated, the more you protect yourself.
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