HRT is always a subject that attracts a lot of interest in the press and this is often because of new studies showing the different effects on health. The result of this over time has been that many women have simply avoided the treatment because they fear the side effects more than they fear the immediate symptoms.
For example the UK Women’s Health Initiative studies showed increased breast cancer and heart disease risk and a higher risk of breast cancer diagnosis with combined HRT. On the other hand a recently completed study by New York University, presented to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Baltimore showed that women who took HRT for up to 25 years were no more likely to develop breast cancer, heart disease or diabetes than women who were not taking HRT treatment. This study had involved comparing the health of 80 women who had been taking HRT for an average of 14 years to the health of women who had not.
Consider The Benefits
It is worth remembering of course that there are some very good reasons why approximately 1 million UK women are currently taking Hormone Replacement Therapy. The symptoms of menopause can be very unpleasant e.g. hot flushes, night sweats and headaches plus there are the longer term and serious post menopausal risks to think about such as depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
It is worth remembering too when worrying about the risks associated with HRT that Drinking more than 3 units of alcohol a day, and being overweight increase the risk of developing breast cancer and heart disease compared to HRT.
HRT involves replacing the lost oestrogen in the body, thereby relieving the symptoms of menopause and guarding against many other potentially serious longer term conditions.
I believe that HRT has a very valuable role as an effective agent in treating some of the highly unpleasant symptoms of menopause, and premenstrual syndrome, protecting against bone loss, and in treating postnatal depression. Topical oestrogens also have a lower risk of causing thrombosis in the veins and pulmonary embolism. I feel that there are real benefits in using topical oestrogens in combination with a Mirena coil, which minimizes the exposure to progesterone.
Through my private London clinic I offer HRT counselling and advice to women on their breast cancer and heart disease risk. I am also able to carry out specific tests for inherited thrombosis risks which are common in Northern Europeans and Ashkenazi Jews.