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Should Women Have Hormone Replacement Therapy? Print E-mail



Women Hormone Replacement Therapy


  Why do we replace hormones?  Is it necessary to replace them?  

  Those two questions are guiding the concept of female hormone replacement therapy.   The body stops producing the quantities of hormones as one ages.   That may or may not be a good or bad thing and that is what makes this controversial for some in the medical community.  Maybe our body slows down for a purpose and, if we introduce hormones back into the body externally, can that be counter productive to one's health? 
   A hormone is a chemical compound made by an organ of the body.  For women two of those organs are the ovaries and thyroid gland. The hormones most commonly reduced in women are estrogen, thyroid hormones and progesterone.  

  The timing of the reduction for women is generally leading up to menopause, or the last menstrual cycle.  Often the reason for supplementing the body with estrogen and progesterone are the symptoms of menopause such as "hot 
flashes".  The hormones may reduce the unpleasant consequences of hormone elimination by the body.  This particular form of hormone replacement therapy is called menopause hormone therapy (MHT).   
  One of the issues is deciding whether the risks of MHT outweight the benefits.  The risks include higher incidence of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and, in women beginning MHT after age 65, earlier onset of dementia.  Of 
course not being mentioned is what is the form of MHT being used such as orally, transdermally and are there differences in the types of hormones being administered. 
  Some of the original studies of women and MHT were done prior to having new forms of hormones that are biologically compatible and administered by injection.  Also a simple hormone such as estrogen may or may not be 
utilized as a stand alone hormone.  If one adds another homrmone such as DHEA then the outcomes can/may be enhanced and the risks reduced.  It's very important to pay attention to what studies were done when.  Older forms of 
hormones may have produced more detrimental effects than hormones used today.
  The question of using MHT rests with individual patients working with educated physicians weighing risk/benefits.  If one has a familial history of some of the risk factors such as heart disease or breast cancer then the 
risks may outweigh the benefits of symptomatic treatment.  If no history then the discomforts of not using MHT may outweigh any risks.
  In all cases, due to many hormones being personally prescribed by physician for individual patients, it's necessary to question the hormones created and why. Most hormone therapies today are based on blood tests, then 
compounded individually by licensed pharmacists, specific to the doctor's order. 
  The bigger question to be asked is "will this harm me?". 


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