Today, there was an article on WallStreetJournal.com – New Views on Hormone Therapy in Menopause
This is the kind of press we need about women’s hormones! Women have to understand that they CAN safely choose hormones because there is a safety difference between the different types of hormones and routes of delivery. They’ve also got to know which hormones to avoid to keep them safe. As stated in the article, hormones must be chosen carefully aand on an individual basis. As Ms. Beck points out there are several large studies that have verified, as the WHI did, that the combination of estrogens with progestins does increase the risk of breast cancer and of heart disease.
The most important thing for folks to understand though is that progestin IS NOT progesterone and that the combination of transdermal estradiol and natural progesterone does NOT increase the risk of breast cancer or heart disease. As mentioned briefly in the article, natural progesterone has been shown in multiple large studies (namely as Ms. Beck points out million women and E3N cohort) to decrease the risk of breast cancer when combined with estrogens. So women can receive the benefits of estrogen without the increased risks of breast cancer that comes with progestins. Actually with natural progesterone they will receive multiple other benefits including decreased blood pressure, lowered levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, less coronary atherosclerosis as noted in the Gynecology textbook by Leon Speroff. Whereas, those who use progestins have been shown in studies to suffer from decreased levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol and other increased cardiovascular risks. Additionally, progesterone has been shown to decrease the risk of VTE (venous thromboembolism) when it is added to estrogen (Circulation, 2007). In the WHI study the risk of VTE and stroke in women taking the combination of estrogen plus progestin was markedly increased.
So women who are worried about taking HRT because of the risks of breast cancer and heart disease no longer have to fear these risks as long as the correct hormones are chosen with the correct route of delivery. It is a tragedy that women who took the “wrong” HRT have died of breast cancer and heart disease because they or their doctors were ill informed or lacking information. It is also a tragedy that women have been robbed of their hormones all these years without reason. We as women have had to suffer from the symptoms of menopause, while watching our health decline, without the benefits of estrogen because of all of this confusion. Hopefully, this time is coming to an end as people become more aware that there is a choice. If you choose hormones that are naturally found in your body, rather than the artificial versions that have been shown to be dangerous you will enjoy a better quality of life, safely. During this time, since 2002, I have been and still will continue to support my patients by prescribing transdermal estradiol and natural progesterone which have been shown to reduce their risk of breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, alzheimer’s disease and to help them live a better quality of life.