How HRT can Benefit Me:
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a medical treatment usually given to women to replace and help balance declining estrogen and progesterone levels during or near menopause. There are also many other reasons why a Doctor or other qualified Medical Practitioner might prescribe supplementary sex hormones.
HRT can help relieve:
The Endocrine System plays a vital role in Respiration, Metabolism, Growth and Development, Sexual Function and Reproduction, Heart Rate and Blood Pressure, Appetite, Sleeping and Waking Cycles, Body Temperature, and Movement.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) are BIG topics…What you see in this section is really just a starting point of the discussion.
Hormone Therapy has been a controversial topic since the various forms of estrogen were discovered in 1929 at the St. Louis University Medical School by scientist Edward Adelbert Doisy. When estrogen, in the form of Premarin, was approved by the FDA in 1942 it became widely available as a treatment for menopausal hot flashes. This was two decades before the first hormonal birth control pill was approved in 1960. (Everyday Health)
A landmark 2002 US study, The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was a long-term national health study comparing estrogen plus progestin with placebo as a primary strategy for preventing heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and osteoporosis in menopausal women (aged 50-79, with an average age of 65). The study was stopped after only 5.6 years because results were interpreted to indicate that the risks outweighed the benefits. The media attention surrounding the publication of the initial results of WHI led to much fear and confusion for some time, regarding the use of Hormonal Therapy (HT) after menopause.
Subsequent studies from the WHI and other organizations clearly showed that younger women and those close to menopause had a very beneficial risk-to-benefit ratio. The results showed similar protective effects for coronary disease and a reduction in mortality that had been shown in earlier observational studies, which had also focused on younger symptomatic women.
Although ongoing study continues in this important arena, it seems that there is even some acceptance in the mainstream medical community for using HRT to treat some women with symptoms at the onset of menopause. (The Journal of Clinical endocrinology & Metabolism).
The Endocrine System is made up of glands that produce and secrete hormones, chemical substances produced in the body that regulate the activity of cells or organs. These hormones regulate the body’s growth, metabolism (the physical and chemical processes of the body), and sexual development and function.
The hormones are released into the bloodstream and may affect one or several organs throughout the body. Hormones are chemical messengers created by the body and they transfer information from one set of cells to another to coordinate the functions of different parts of the body.
The major glands of the endocrine system are the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, pineal body, and the reproductive organs (ovaries and testes). The pancreas is also a part of this system; it has a role in hormone production as well as in digestion.
The endocrine system is regulated by feedback in much the same way that a thermostat regulates the temperature in a room. (eMedicine Health)
In a publication in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada (JOGC) 2021 October 01 entitled, Guideline No. 422a: Menopause: Vasomotor Symptoms, Prescription Therapeutic Agents, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Nutrition, and Lifestyle, the publishers’ objective was to provide strategies for improving the care of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, based on the most recent published evidence. Their summarized findings are as follows:
The Endocrine System uses hormones to control and coordinate your body’s internal metabolism (or homeostasis), energy level, reproduction, growth and development, and response to injury, stress, and environmental factors. Following is a list of the primary human glands, the hormones they secrete, and their role in the workings of the Endocrine System:
At the heart of the Hormone Therapy debate is the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study that concluded that the overall health risks exceeded the benefits from combined use of estrogen and progestin among healthy postmenopausal women.
Experts say that the study had some caveats and the results are often misinterpreted.
Dr. Wen Shen, an assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland, says, “A lot of people, yes, are still going on the misinformation that was presented by the WHI. The amazing thing was that the trial was stopped and was evaluated and scrutinized, so we’re talking about 20 years ago. People are still misunderstanding it.”
The study examined the effects of the combination of estrogen and progestin as well as estrogen alone in postmenopausal women. The average age of the women in that trial was 65, Shen said, while the average age of women going through menopause is 51.
“When you hit 60, a lot of physiologic changes occur that makes it bad medically for you to start on Hormone Therapy and especially the only Hormone Therapy that they used in that trial, which was the oral conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA)…There’s a lot of data that has come out now that shows women who start on Hormone Therapy very close to their menopause or even during their perimenopause, before they become postmenopausal, actually are healthier and have greater longevity and that is attributed to the beneficial effects of estrogen on heart health, bone health, and brain health, in early stages of menopause,” Shen said.
Education is key to understanding the risks associated with hormone therapy.
“…Not all estrogens and progesterones are created equal,” Shen said. “There are different side effects and different benefits to the types of estrogens, and…the estrogen patch is overall much safer and lower in the risks that were found from the WHI.”
Women can make smart decisions for themselves when they’re “fully apprised of the different pros and cons, instead of harboring misinformation and fears that are unfounded.”
Dr. Julian Schink, Chief of Gynecologic Oncology for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Illinois, acknowledges that there are critiques of the WHI study, like the average age of the women in the trial.
There are women for whom hormones aren’t an option. “Anybody who’s had estrogen sensitive cancer, which is typically a breast cancer, should not be taking hormones,” he said. “There are some clotting disorders that are exacerbated by estrogen,” he added. “So people who’ve had known blood clotting disorders should avoid estrogens.”
The Endocrine System is made up of a complex network of glands, which are organs that secrete substances. The glands of the Endocrine System are where hormones are produced, stored, and released. Each gland produces one or more hormones, which go on to target specific organs and tissues in the body.
The glands of the endocrine system include:
Some endocrine glands also have non-endocrine functions. For example, the ovaries and testes produce hormones, but they also have the non-endocrine function of producing eggs and sperm, respectively.
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