Hormone replacement therapy for women has had a bad rep. Once widely prescribed for women during menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) fell out of favor after a 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study associated it with greater health risks.
But the pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction. Many women still benefit from HRT, especially if they go through early menopause or experience severe symptoms.
Here at Murray’s Health and Wellness in Naples, Illinois, Dr. Emilia Murray will sometimes prescribe hormone replacement therapy to women. Below are the facts about HRT and why it’s a safe choice.
Myth: All hormone replacement therapy is the same.
Fact: There’s a big difference between various types of hormone therapy. For one thing, HRT has changed quite a bit from the regimen that was frequently prescribed in the 1980s. Today’s HRT is often lower in dosage and has fewer side effects.
There’s also a difference between synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones. Dr. Murray exclusively uses bioidentical hormones, which are derived from plants rather than chemicals. As a result, bioidentical hormones have far fewer side effects than their synthetic counterparts but are still equally effective.
Myth: Hormone replacement therapy is dangerous.
Fact: Synthetic hormone replacement therapy is safer than it used to be, but it still carries certain risks. It is not a completely safe solution for all women. The official prescribing guidelines of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology state that not all patients will benefit from HRT. Older patients, in particular, may be at greater risk from HRT use compared to the potential benefits.
However, bioidentical HRT is generally regarded as safer than conventional, synthetic HRT. Because the forms of hormones are natural, they are usually better tolerated and present lower risks.
Myth: I haven’t gone through menopause yet, so I don’t need hormone replacement therapy.
Fact: Most of the symptoms we attribute to menopause are actually part of perimenopause, the 4-10 years before the last period. These symptoms can be very bothersome for many years.
Many women often don’t realize how much better they could feel with HRT. Several of the symptoms related to a hormone imbalance are often attributed to stress or normal signs of aging.
Some of the symptoms of hormone imbalance that can be relieved with HRT include the following:
Bioidentical hormones can make you far more comfortable during the perimenopausal phase of life. There’s no reason to suffer when relief is so close at hand.
Myth: Estrogen therapy can cause breast cancer.
Fact: The Women’s Health Initiative study that led to a shocking decline in HRT use stated that hormone replacement therapy increased breast cancer. But even despite that study, 80 percent of breast cancer cases were in women who had not used any hormone replacement therapy.
Furthermore, the study used conventional, synthetic forms of both estrogen and progesterone. The safety of bioidentical hormones was not called into question.
Myth: Younger women don’t need hormone replacement therapy.
Fact: Younger women actually need hormone replacement therapy more than older women do. Whether you’ve gone through premature menopause due to hysterectomy or you have symptoms of perimenopause, younger women can benefit more from HRT. The latest ACOG guidelines also state that HRT is safest for younger women.
Being on hormone replacement therapy isn’t a miracle cure, but it can turn your life around and make you feel like a whole new woman. Contact Dr. Murray today about hormone replacement therapy and discover how much better you can feel.