Lately it seems barely a week goes by when I do not get some news about yet another Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) myth being debunked. In February we saw the release of a landmark study that finally put to rest the notion that testosterone replacement in men increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Now, I am happy to report some similar good news for women. A recent British study linking HRT to a greater risk of ovarian cancer is flawed, and women should not fear HRT based on this study.
We know that HRT remains the best treatment we have for treating the most debilitating symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes. Much as the now debunked studies conducted in the early 2000s that purported a link between HRT and increased risk of breast cancer, the study published in the Lancet, claiming women undergoing HRT were “40% more likely to develop ovarian cancer,” is largely circumspect.
Who disputes the study?
Some very well-known and well respected specialists in women’s health dispute the finding of the Lancet study. President of the Australasian Menopause Society, Dr. Anna Fenton, has said the study’s calculations were way off, and independent researchers have verified her claims, revising the numbers down to just under one extra case of ovarian cancer per 10,000 women on HRT per year!
Dr. Rod Baber, president of the International Menopause Society says the study was flawed for other reasons, such as it did not take into account the use of oral contraceptives, body mass index, or other lifestyle behaviors that could increase cancer risk in the women undergoing HRT.
Baber believes as do I, that the benefits of HRT outweigh the slight increased risk of ovarian cancer, if that risk even exists, and Babar adds, “There has never been a study which has convincingly established a link between estrogen as a carcinogen and ovarian cancer.”
Even the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine warns that, “the conclusions of The Lancet analysis should be viewed with skepticism.”
HRT and Menopause
For many years, HRT was the standard of treatment for women experiencing the most common symptoms of menopause, hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, etc. HRT remains the best option for women to not only combat these symptoms, but to age optimally and enjoy the fitness and vitality of their youth.
Today, we have a much greater understanding of the risks and the benefits of HRT, and can prescribe it more effectively, and more precisely.
We look very closely at each woman as an individual, evaluate her symptoms, and hormone levels, and prescribe just the right, safe and effective hormone treatments to get her back into her optimal balance.
I am not saying all the reports of the risks of HRT are unfounded, but delving into these supposed risks, and finding out the truths about them, has actually helped to elevate the use of HRT into a more exact and precise science.
This kind of individualized HRT is delivered orally, by a skin patch, sub-dermal pellets, or topical gels and creams. HRT prescribed in the right doses, continues to be the most effective treatment available for reducing night sweats and hot flashes, and improves vaginal dryness, lack of stimulation and painful intercourse –even in pre-menopausal women.
I treat women everyday with HRT and almost all report it has been a “life changing” experience.
Have you, or anyone you know had HRT, what were the results.
Start the conversation below.