Hormone Replacement Therapy: FRIEND or FOE?

By 2020, approximately 100 million women will be entering menopause.

As they age, women experience a decline in their sex hormones, most well known being estrogen. Unfortunately, this very normal transition often comes with unpleasant symptoms.

Estrogen provides many benefits for our bones, brain, heart, joints, sleep and overall quality of life.  So, what happens when there is a dramatic decline in the production of estrogen? It’s different for everyone, but once can experience any or all of the following:

  • Hot flashes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood changes
  • Harder time losing weight
  • Lipid abnormalities
  • Increased fracture risk
  • Decreased libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Etc.

Many women can find symptomatic improvement in HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). There are two questions I often hear when women are trying to decide on HRT:

  • 1.   Is it safe?
  • 2.   Should I do bioidentical?

Early 2000, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reported on the use of animal derived and synthetic (non-bioidentical) hormones as a treatment for menopausal symptoms.  The negative press generated from this report resulted in millions of women stopping HRT.

Since then, numerous studies have shown that there actually may be benefit, especially between the ages of 50-59years of old. This newer research suggests that hormone therapy may have far reaching benefits with cardiovascular health, bone and brain health.

In a 2012 issue of Menopause, the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) stated that estrogen is the most effective treatment for hot flashes.  Shortly after, the WHI reported slight drop in all cause mortality and heart attacks with estrogen therapy with women under 60years of age.

Currently, most research studies are on the effects of animal derived, non-bioidentical sources of estrogen and progesterone. Not much has been done on the use of bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones are plant derived and are completely identical to what is produced in our body, thus it is metabolized and excreted in the same manner. When the decision comes to use bioidentical or not, it really comes down to preference.

Research continues to evolve around the safety, risks and benefits of HRT. It is important that women arm themselves with the most up to date information, and work with their doctors to formulate the best course of action.  Each woman needs to be evaluated as an individual. Symptom severity is assessed alongside personal risks, potential benefits, individual priorities and concerns.

            Is HRT the only opfion?

There are many diet and lifestyle modifications, vitamins/nutrients, and herbs that can be used to alleviate symptoms of menopause.  Additionally, other body systems can also affect not only your symptoms, but hormone production/metabolism, including the thyroid, the adrenals, and the gut. All of these should be evaluated and treated if not functioning optimally.

Dr. Nguyen uses both bio-identical and conventional hormone replacement. She utilizes single and combination hormone protocols, based on each individuals concerns and preferences.

 INTERESTED IN HORMONE REPLACEMENT? IS IT FOR YOU?

CALL TODAY to make an appointment! (310) 553-8883 OR (310) 914-5010

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