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Hormone Replacement Therapy for Menopause: Benefits versus Risks

April 14th, 2022

Hormone replacement therapy has been used to alleviate menopause symptoms since the early 1960s.

During that time, numerous studies have researched the benefits versus risks of hormone replacement. The result has been a pile of useful information, but also a lot of misinformation.

Every woman considering HRT should know the facts, so she can make the decisions that are best for her and for her health.

What We Thought We Knew

The 500-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to hormone replacement therapy is the Women’s Health Initiative study that was performed during the 1990s.

This study was meant to evaluate the benefits of HRT for the prevention of conditions like heart disease and bone loss during and after menopause. Initially the study reported an increased risk for developing breast cancer and heart disease.

As a result, the study was halted, and the number of women receiving HRT in the United States dropped by almost half within a matter of a few months.

However, the WHI study was later found to be substantially flawed. When the results of the WHI study are evaluated with those flaws in mind, it becomes apparent that the reports immediately following the WHI study did not accurately convey the true benefits and risks of HRT.

As for the specifics, the results of the study were negatively impacted by several factors:

  • The women in the study were taking synthetic hormones only. In fact, the study was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company that manufactured the synthetic hormones that were taken by the study’s participants.
  • Most of the women in the study were more than ten years beyond menopause.
  • A majority of women who participated in the study were overweight, a factor that in and of itself increases risk factors for cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.
  • 42% of the participants dropped out of the study prematurely, which skewed the results.
  • Every woman in the study took her estrogen orally. Later research revealed that oral estrogen is responsible for increased health risks, including breast cancer.

So, What’s the Truth About HRT for Women?

Continued analysis of the WHI study paints a different picture, as do more recent studies that were better designed and of a higher quality.

We now know that:

  • Bioidentical hormones are safer than synthetic hormones.
  • Bioidentical progesterone reduces breast cancer risk.
  • Synthetic progesterone (often referred to as progestin) is unhealthy for women. It has been shown to increase the incidence of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you’re approaching or going through menopause, you may be wondering if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.

HRT can be an effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause. It can also help to protect women from breast cancer, bone loss, heart disease, and dementia.

But there’s a big “if” here…

That is if it is done correctly. And dispensing HRT properly requires expertise. That’s where Renew Youth comes in.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The earlier you can start HRT, the better. Not only is there a reduced risk of adverse effects…but you’ll also gain more health benefits.
  • HRT should only be administered using bioidentical hormones. Synthetic hormones, at a minimum, can cause undesirable side effects. At worst, they can increase your risk for serious medical conditions.
  • The best way to get estrogen into a woman’s body safely and precisely is via transdermal cream that is custom dosed for each woman’s unique physiological needs.
  • Bioidentical estrogen should always be paired with bioidentical progesterone. Bioidentical progesterone is breast protective.
  • Dosing matters. No woman is well-served by having her hormones over-dosed or under-dosed. You want the dosing for your hormones to be just right for you. A one-size-fits-all approach is not safe and is not effective.
  • Regular testing is a vital part of effective HRT. Your physiology is likely to shift over time, and your dosing needs to change with it. Routine lab testing and oversight helps to facilitate those necessary adjustments.

Women have a right to safe and effective hormone therapy for the treatment of menopause symptoms, but also for the long-term health benefits.

At Renew Youth we use bioidentical hormones, regular lab testing, and more than two decades of experience to make sure you get the maximum benefit from your hormone replacement therapy.

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