I’m Still Haunted by my Friend’s Story… I want to share it with every woman.
A friend recently made a remark to me that really hit home. Now in her early 80’s she was told by her doctor to stop the Hormone Replacement Therapy she had been on for years.
“I was forced to stop my HRT upon discovery of a prolactinoma tumor on my pituitary gland. The prolactin and the estrogen would have been a bad mix. While starting meds for the tumor, I was off estrogen for 10 months. After around the 8th month off estrogen I started feeling all kinds of neurological symptoms, the worst of which was that my usually wonderful memory was failing me. I really thought this was the beginning of Alzheimers.
I stopped driving and indeed, it impacted my life drastically. When I finally went to see my doctor, my numbers for the tumor were back in line and I was put back on estrogen on a Friday. By the following Wednesday, I was back to my old self and have been on estrogen again ever since. (a total of 32 years) I made the remark (about thousands of old ladies in nursing homes being there due to lack of estrogen) to several doctors who readily agreed with me”.
I personally have been on (HRT) for about 25 years. I fully realize that everyone is not a candidate for HRT, but I believe more women can benefit greatly from it who have been given to think it would be harmful. In 2002, a major study on HRT was abruptly halted by federal researchers of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), because they “detected” an increased risk of health problems. Alarming stories about this appeared in all the news media. But the study was limited to older women who were well past their menopausal years.
Two years later, a review of other studies of younger women who began HRT before turning 60 revealed that HRT actually reduced the risk of dying from any cause by 39% compared to women who did not take HRT at all. Most of those studies were conducted between 1990 and 2002. Where were these reports about younger women in 2002, when the controversy was raging?
Then, in 2006, findings published in the “Journal of Women’s Health” showed that women who began HRT shortly after entering menopause had a 30% lower risk for heart disease than women who did not. A fresh analysis of the WHI data, published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine,” suggested that health concerns about HRT may have been overstated.
Changing their previous total opposition, Women’s Health Initiative then advised women to consult their doctor about HRT. In August 2008, one of the world’s largest trials of hormone replacement therapy found that post-menopausal women on the program gain significant improvements in quality of life. The results of a study by the WISDOM research team (Women’s International Study of long Duration Oestrogen after Menopause) can be found on the British Medical Journal website www.bmj.com. Despite these studies, HRT remains controversial.
In 2008, another study conducted in New York indicated a possible link between HRT and Breast Cancer in some women. But based on my own 25-year experience and the positive findings by the researchers over the last 9 years, I urge anyone having menopausal or pre-menopausal problems to discuss the possibility of HRT with a competent doctor up on the subject. You may or may not be a candidate. Just be sure your doctor understands the studies; unfortunately some dismiss HRT because they don’t know enough about it, or just want to play safe (for themselves), but that might not be the best answer for you.
For me the benefits have outweighed the supposed negatives for a quarter century. At age 78, I have no sign of osteoporosis, and my bones are as dense as those of an 18 year old! I believe that the HRT I’ve been on, along with the proper diet, supplements and exercise, is the reason for my strong bones and agile body for my age.
The answer is to find a doctor who is up on all the latest studies, THEN have a talk with that doctor to see if they are right for your body.
Until next time,