Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy; New Views

Wall Street Journal, dated September 27, 2011, reports that hormone replacement therapy is a good option for healthy women and showing a reduction in the diagnosis of heart disease.  Women were less likely to die for any reason when on hormone replacment. Dr. Wulf Utian, founder and former president of NAMS (North American Menopause Society) stated in the article,  “It’s actually quite safe to take hormones for 5-10 years after menopause. If you minimize a woman’s exposure to progesterone (non-bio-identical progesterone), you minimize her slight risk of breast cancer. Meanwhile, the estrogen will have a beneficial effect on her brain, her skin, her bones and her heart.” The article further states “Fluctuating hormone levels before and during menopause can affect memory, cognition and vulnerability to depression, particularly in women who have had depression in the past”. This article also addresses the use of synthetic vs bio-identical progesterone stating, “some experts surmise the extra risk (of WHI study) was due to the type of progesterone used in the trial, a synthetic form called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). But other studies suggest using natural progesterone in lower doses or for fewer days may minimize the breast-cancer risk.”
Lastly, the article addresses the practice of some doctors who prescribe antidepressants off-label for menopausal symptoms and natural remedies, finishing with an emphasis on healthy lifestyle. This is one of the first articles where a national expert in gynecology, Dr. Wulf Utian is quoted as being supportive of bio-identical hormone replacement and specifically addressing the fact that the synthetic progesterones versus bio-identical progesterone are the risk in higher incidence of breast cancers.
The article stops short of mentioning the importance of following hormone levels in all patients on HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Like any replacement, knowing baseline levels and levels needed for protection of skin, bones, bladder, heart and other end organs is important in having appropriate levels to keep us healthy.
To see if you may be a candidate for HRT, check out the Hormone Symptoms Worksheet on our website and contact our office.

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