Millions of women succumbed to the enticing promises of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), and took to the pills combining estrogen and progestin. The highly touted promise was that these magic treatments would reduce heart attacks, stroke and breast cancer dramatically. Furthermore they would alleviate the problems of menopause, no sweats, no mood changes, no hot flashes, no more sleepless nights. And, to top it all, HRT would help preserve a woman’s youthfulness, looks, bone health and sexuality. How could any woman resist? Encouraged by their doctors – millions of women went for HRT. Then the shoe dropped. The highly publicized reports from the Women’s Health Initiative study showed quite the opposite; namely an alarming increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots and urinary incontinence among postmenopausal women who were using HRT, including both estrogen and progesterone.
The two top HRT prescription medicines in the US were Premarin® and Premro®. They went from 61 million prescriptions written in 2001, to 21 million prescriptions in 2004. The resulting 6.7% decline in the rate of new breast cancer cases in 2003 was ascribed to the decline of hormone replacement therapy. Further analysis of the data resulted in a new directions for doctors and their patients, suggesting it was safe for women to use HRT for up to five years, especially if their menopausal symptoms were severe or intolerable. That theory too is now out the window.
Now we are informed about the latest interpretation. According to the newest analysis of a major study there is devastating evidence that reveals that taking hormones for five years only doubles the risk for breast cancer. Even taking the estrogen and progesterone pills for just two years markedly increased the chance of getting cancer.
Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, the leader of this latest study, assures women that by quitting HRT their odds will improve quickly. Other doctors too support his findings and confirm that by stopping to take the hormone medication they can substantially reduce their cancer risk, even if they have been on HRT for a long time. That leaves the question of the so called natural or bio-identical hormones which are heavily touted by Suzanne Somers and other lay promoters as being completely safe.
“Utter nonsense!” says Dr. Wulf Utian, a world leader in woman’s health. “There is this totally false impression that these so-called bio-identical hormones are somehow safer, or that they don’t carry any risk. There is no serious data that supports these speculations.”
So called “bio-identical” hormones are fabricated and compounded with several manufactured ingredients by independent pharmacists. They cannot duplicate the hormones our own bodies produce. That assumption is pure myth.
So back to basics when it comes to finding the magic cure. Study after study proves that we can maintain our health, prevent illness, preserve our shape, keep our bones strong, our skin tone better and yes, our libido more active by simply following the golden rule: good diet and daily exercise. Just do it!
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