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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hormones, Women, and Menopause

Lhasa, Tibet. Photo Credit
The New York Times carried an article today Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy? that brings much information to light for those women who want to better understand the results of the clinical trials carried out over years, that in 2003 caused researchers to state that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may bring on a higher incidence of breast cancer, and that, in the years since, a reduced incidence of breast cancer has occurred - according to some of these researchers - because so many women stopped taking HRT.

While I am a strong proponent of bio-identical hormones, as opposed to the type of hormones normal HRT recommends, I nevertheless feel that any woman facing the decision of whether to have HRT or not - whether bio-identical or otherwise - should first understand what can - and can not - be stated with certainty after the type of clinical trials that have been undertaken and written so much about.

Hence I recommend that you read the article.

Once upon a time, women took estrogen only to relieve the hot flashes, sweating, vaginal dryness and the other discomforting symptoms of menopause. In the late 1960s, thanks in part to the efforts of Robert Wilson, a Brooklyn gynecologist, and his 1966 best seller, “Feminine Forever,” this began to change, and estrogen therapy evolved into a long-term remedy for the chronic ills of aging. Menopause, Wilson argued, was not a natural age-related condition; it was an illness, akin to diabetes or kidney failure, and one that could be treated by taking estrogen to replace the hormones that a woman’s ovaries secreted in ever diminishing amounts. With this argument estrogen evolved into hormone-replacement therapy, or H.R.T., as it came to be called, and became one of the most popular prescription drug treatments in America. Read more.

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