Healthy Aging For Women: Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right For Any Woman?
Bio-identical hormones, herbal products and chondroitin tablets, to name just a few, are promoted as being beneficial for treating menopausal symptoms and conditions including osteoporosis. But are they really doing any good? Are they really a good substitute for pharmaceutical-derived therapies?
Many products sold by health food stores avoid the scrutiny of federal regulating bodies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because they are sold as nutritional supplements and not as pharmaceuticals. In some cases, these alternative treatments may be beneficial, in some cases, not. If a woman’s bone density is not improving year to year with the supplements, the woman needs to be informed that they are putting themselves in harm’s way by relying on these supplements rather than evidence-based therapies.
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a government-funded study, intended to look at the risks and benefits of estrogen or estrogen/progestin therapy in menopausal women. It rested on the conventional knowledge that hormone therapy caused increased risks in the areas of breast cancer, blood clots and emboli. However, it mainly sought to confirm the benefits of estrogen in reducing cardiovascular disease, an entity that killed 10 times more women annually than breast cancer or 5 times more women annually than breast cancer and hip fracture combined. Enrolled were, for the most part, heart-healthy women.
The study failed to show any benefits for reducing cardiovascular disease and this unleashed a catastrophic reaction that, among other things, forced the early closure of the program and sharp reductions in the use of hormone therapy nationwide. Up to that time, it was the largest study to specifically target women, a group long felt to have been under-represented in experimental medicine.
In retrospect, some of the conclusions were shown to be misleading because of the age of the participants and the use of non-validated statistical methods. Later data analysis shows that hormones may have a possible place in the management of younger, early menopausal patients. The study used only one hormone (Premarin) or one combined hormone, Prempro (Premarin/Provera) but drew conclusions that enveloped and indicted all the other hormones in this therapy group.
I will be discussing this topic during our upcoming free seminar at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Women over the child-bearing stage are invited to hear brief, targeted presentations by experts from Baylor College of Medicine about menopause, hormone replacement therapy, alternatives to a hysterectomy, osteoporosis and other important women’s health topics. You’ll even have the opportunity to ask questions and meet the physicians afterwards.
Healthy Aging: What Women Need to Know Now
Thursday, Sept 13, 2012 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women
6651 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030
4th floor, conference room A
Reserve your seat now! Limited seating available.
I look forward to seeing you there!