In 2002, a study was published alerting women to certain risks with this type of therapy. This made many panic and stop taking hormone therapy. Is there a reason for this type of concern?
In 2002, the WHI or Women’s Health Initiative was performed. This clinical study stated that the hormone therapy could pose more danger than help to menopausal women compared to what the medical community originally thought. As many as two-thirds of the patients taking hormone therapy stopped it and a large number of doctors quit recommending it.
The study looked at whether estrogen with progestin (brand name Prempro, for example) or estrogen (brand name Premarin, for example) for hormone therapy is a preventative for heart disease in women between 50 and 79 years of age who are healthy.
What Were the Findings?
The researchers canceled the Prempro part of the study early because it quickly showed that the combination of estrogen and progestin increased the chances of women getting heart disease, blood clots in their lungs, stroke and breast cancer while taking such hormone therapy.
Then it was later discovered that taking only estrogen upped the chances for stroke for women taking it and no benefits to the cardiovascular system. Women had already panicked over the Prempro report and so had many doctors.
However, on further examination of all the data, researchers found that the results were not as bad as initially reported. Some of the women were much older than the normal age for taking hormone therapy for one thing. In addition, a publication in 2006 based on the Nurse’s Health Study reported that women who began on hormone therapy immediately after the onset of menopause lowered their chances of contracting heart disease by a whopping 30%.
On top of this, the HERS study showed that out of 10,000 women on Prempro would have a lower risk of colon cancer along with fewer hip fractures. In addition, in 2006, it was announced that women had no increased risk for contracting breast cancer taking only estrogen (Premarin).
Discuss with your doctor which hormone therapy is right for you. Do not take a higher dosage than necessary or for longer than necessary. There are newer ways to prevent osteoporosis than just taking hormone therapy.
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