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Review casts skeptical eye on hormone replacement therapy

March 27, 2009 by  

Review casts skeptical eye on hormone replacement therapyHormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms has been increasingly discredited, and a special report recounts the ups and downs of the therapy over the years.

According to the report published as a supplement to the March issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, there is much disagreement over the effectiveness of the therapy.

Until 1990s, doctors prescribed it to relieve menopause systems, prevent heart disease and osteoporosis. However, a large study from 2002 found that older women taking estrogen plus a synthetic form of progesterone had an elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and blood clots.

The review also cautions against the so-called safe substitutes in the form of bioidentical hormones made from plant sources and chemically processed to be identical to hormones made in the body.

There is no evidence for their improved safety, it says, therefore "it should be assumed that bioidentical hormones have the same risks as conventional therapy."

Meanwhile, health practitioners have suggested that factors such as diet, exercise and nutritional supplements as well as massages and reflexology treatments may minimize unpleasant symptoms including hot flashes, headaches, insomnia, weight gain or fatigue.


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  • Marlene B.

    Sign Petition To Stop Television Prescription Drug Ads

    Published by Marlene B. on Mar 18, 2009
    Category: Health
    Region: GLOBAL
    Target: U.S. Congress, FCC, FDA, European Commission, EMEA

    Background (Preamble):
    Statistics prove prescription drugs are 16,400% more deadly than terrorists. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1998, a report finds that prescription drugs kill about 106,000 Americans each year – that’s three times as many as are killed by automobiles—making prescription drug death the fourth leading killer after heart disease, cancer and stroke.

    Last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association puts death from all drugs, illegal and prescription, second only behind car accidents as a cause of death.

    The rise in deaths coincides with the direct marketing of prescription medication to the public. Prescription drug sales have soared nearly 500 percent since 1990.

    The pharmaceutical industry is a multi-trillion dollar business. Companies spend billions on advertising and promotions for prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies claim their drug ads are “educational” to the public. The public seems to genuinely believe that drugs advertised on TV are safe, in spite of the plethora of side effects listed. Many of these drugs have proven deadly.

    Every day it’s estimated 2,500 teens abuse a prescription pain killer for the first time.

    The White House Office of National Drug Control policy had been planning to unveil an ad campaign to target prescription drug abuse by teens. It is time to stop this form of advertising by the pharmaceutical companies.
    We, the undersigned, request that Congress, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the European Commission, EMEA (European Medicines Agency) stop all television advertising of prescription drugs.

    • Kelly Given

      This must be stopped. Too many lives destroyed!

  • Chuck

    My wife is 64 years old and was on HRT for over 30 years. She just had a bone density scan and has the bones of a 30 year old. She worked out often and her skin looks better than our 30 somethin daughters, and her heart is in great shape.

    After being hounded by all of her doctors she quit HRT. She does not feel better, is always tired, and is generally not pleasant to be around. Considering the miniscual risk of being on HRT (less than 1/2% increase in the risk of heart attack) the benefits far outweigh them.

    I believe the real reason behind all the skepticism is that a bunch of grumpy, wrinkled old women don’t want other women to be happy and good looking.

  • Vicki Pierce

    In reference to the article warning about hormone replacement therapy. If it were not for bioidentical estrogens and progesterone, I would have lost my sanity during peri-menopause. The pathetic “solution” for night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia and fatigue given in the article is typical of male dominated allopathic gynecological medicine. Before starting HRT in 2005, I tried black cohosh and phytoestrogens, yoga, meditiation, massages. These did nothing to alleviate my menopausal symptoms. It wasn’t until I researched bioidentical hormones and started treatment with an open-minded doctor that I found any relief. The HRT scare is left over from a study done years ago (2002) on women who were given synthetic estrogens (Premarin – pregnant horse urine-based) and progesterones. Women, please do the research for yourselves on bioidentical hormones before you rely on the results of this old study (2002). I can’t find any reason stated in the article why doctors have lumped bioidentical hormones in with the synthetics; they are NOT the same thing and should be studied independently.

  • http://BobLivingston Marcylynn

    I am so thankful for hormone replacement therapy. As a transgender it has helped make my life complete to be the woman I was meant to be. It was a wonderful completion to my transition.


  • Linda

    Thank God for bioidentical hormone replacement. I spent 12 years in hell after having a complete hysterectomy at the age of 47. Nothing worked until I changed doctors and she put me on bioidenticals after doing extensive bloodwork and I cannot begin to make you understand how much better my life is. I want the government to stay out of my treatment, let my doctor and I decide what I need. I plan to take them forever.

  • Dolores Leeson

    I am 76 years old and have been on HRT for over 30 years. My bone density scans show no bone loss from year to year. Twice my gyn has had me try to stop taking the hormones and each time I have suffered with sweats so bad that I could not function.
    I feel and look much younger than my age and do just about as many physical chores as I did 30 years ago. If you are on HRT there are tests to show when you develope problems. Personally I do not believe HRT causes the cancers that we hear about.

  • Dolores Leeson

    An added comment to the above .I am on Estradiol and Medroxyprogesterone. I was originally on premarin however when I found out how this was obtained from horses I quickly asked fro an alternative. No one needs to contribute to more suffering of animals in order to relieve themselves. I would like to see the end of premarin.

    • Mary

      I was wondering if you could share with me your dosage of estradiol and medroxyprogesterone. Also if you take the progesterone every day or cyclically?..
      I just recently had a total hysterectomy at 51 yrs old. I was on Estradiol only because i had my uterus removed 10 yrs go due to fibroids. I am trying the estradiol again but i don’t feel quite right on it and i have learned in the past that the med-progesterone always helped with the energy and sense of well being. So if you could be so kind to share your dosage info and exactly how you take it, it would help me alot and put me back on the road to regaining my sanity.
      Thanks in advace,
      Mary W.

      • Dolores Leeson

        I don’t remember the original dosage for premarin but I have been on Estradiol tabs 0.5 mg (the generic form of Estrace) and Medroxyprogesterone tabs 2.5 mg which I take once daily in the AM. I have been on these for over 20 years and when my GYN tried to wean me from them (during the “these cause cancer” scare, I suffered terribly from sweats and flashes.My “weaning” consisted of a program cutting back to every other day and then less and less for 3 months. I never made it to the second month.
        I am 76 years old have excellent bone mass and am very active and feel and look younger than most women my age. My history includes fibrous cysts in my mid twenties and I have three grown sons. I feel these drugs have helped me a great deal and intend to continue taking them the rest of my life. I also take vitamins and mineral supplements.
        Only your docter can tell you what is best for you but it is important to take medroxyprogesterone along with the estrace. I think without the progesterone you run the risk of tissue buildup. Hope this helps but please check with your GYN. What is good for one person might not help someone else. I never had a hysterectomy. I went on hormones because I had a very public job and the flashes and sweats were becoming embarrassing and a distraction. Bythe way the research regarding the hormones causing cancer was done on a very very small group of women and my GYN said that it doesn’t prove anything.

        • Mary

          Thank you so much Delores for responding to my question and sharing your personal information with me. I am on 1 mg of oral estradiol and no progesterone for i don’t have a uterus anymore nor any ovaries so this is the does they have started me off with. I took this dose for a few yrs before my hysterectomy, then went down to the dose that you take, but because the ovaries are gone, i am back on the higher dose..
          I am finding that being off of it for a few months before my surgery, that i am dealing with terrible anxiety as a side effect but i’m sure in time it will subside.
          Again, thank you for sharing your info, it makes me feel better to know that someone else out there shares the opinion and liking for the oral estradiol.


  • welovetheUSA

    Ah..Chuck your wife can do whatever she wants its her body, we grumpy old women have better things to do than begrudge your wife her medication.
    My personal idea about all this is, compound hormones is the way to go, very expensive. Premarin has effected many women I have known over the years, usually strokes..I donot trust any medications for the most part, most do have side effects that are usually worse than the condition itself. Suzanne Somers knows more about hormones than any 100,000 doctors…doctors donot care about your hoemones, period. The older you get the less they care, and when healthcare reform comes down on America you will recieve even less care, because in this bill it states older patients will not recieve expensive care to prolong their lives.
    You are expendable.

  • Mung

    I don’t know much about HRT, but if I had to use it, I would go for the natural kind since I get along with the natural intended stuffs. By the way, in my former country, people do not even know that these stuffs even existed in the other part of the world, and some lived to be very advanced in age. My aunt is 98, and she is still kicking. I believe a long dose of the right and nutritious food, exercise, and a less stressful environment would bring alot of solutions to many health problems.

  • Bob Livingston

    Hormone replacement has not only been discredited, researchers have proved conclusively that it causes cancer. They have already proved that it actually causes heart disease and does not help osteoporosis. It is even admitted in this bulletin that older women taking synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone had an elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and blood clots.

    Meanwhile, doctors continue to prescribe hormone therapy. It is nothing less than a disgrace.

  • Jeane Jaime

    I am on natural hormones and feel great at 85 yrs. old. I have a wonderful Natureopathic Dr. who precribes these natural hormones. I am checked every year by my Dr. Leon. I do take several other food supplements and exercise at least four hours in water aerobics every week plus walk our dog twice a day. . Plus, I watch the amount of food I eat and make sure it has healthy ingredients.

    I also keep busy volunteering in a local hospital, four hours a wee, belong to a club, attend pot lucks, play pool with my husband, and have two pets, (dog and cat), see my grandson quite often, and have many friends.
    I also have a deep faith in a higher power and know how to relax so have sound sleep.
    All of the above take some discipline, but the results I achieve by following through are more than worth it.
    Mrs. Jeane Jaime

  • Lori DeVries

    I would love to go on the bio-identical hormones. I have trouble with anything prescription anymore, sometimes putting me in the ER. I just can’t afford to see these holisitc doctors. I follow a lot of natural advice online and have altered my diet and take the supplements i feel help me most, but am having hot flashes and worst of all never get a good night’s sleep and wake up in sweats.
    None of the regular MD’s want to perform the hormone tests for them nor will they prescribe them. Most the ones writing the ‘scripts” for the bio-identical do not accept any insurance. So since i’m under a government insurance policy, it is affordable to take the synthetic hormones, but not affordable for me to see a Dr. that does not cover the visit or testing, nor are the cost of the prescriptions covered. Most the Dr’s that will write them are charging over 2000.00 for your first appointment. I’ve called around and get the same story everywhere.
    What good is insurance if they’ll only pay for the dangerous chemical version?? So since i’m not wealthy enough i can’t afford what may give me a better quality of life.
    I notice especially since the Oprah show was on all the prices tripled. I cant’ understand how these bio-identicals are FDA approved yet no insurance company will accept the claims for them??? Bummer……..

    • DeWitt Bunch

      Bio-identicals are not FDA approved. That is why there is so much bad press about it saying that it is the same as the synthetics. There are no studies saying any different because there is no money in it.

      • Mary

        Bio-identicals, atleast the estrogens are approved by the FDA. Micronized estradiol, (Estrace), which is estradiol is a bio-identical and i get mine at a regular pharmacy and it is covered by insurance. It is also one of the many prescriptions that Walmart offers for just $ 4.00 for the generic.

  • Hunter Voiles

    Impressive work. I typically come across extremely one of a kind posts here in your webpage.


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