Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
On September 10, 2003, Reuters health reported that the state of confusion among menopausal women is so great that the FDA decided to step in and create a web site designed to answer some basic questions that women have regarding hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The confusion started in July of 2002 when the Women’s’ Health Initiative, a study of 16,000 women conducted to determine the effects of HRT was prematurely stopped by the investigators due to the increased risk of heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, and breast cancer for women taking Prempro. Prempro is a combination form of HRT containing Premarin, synthetic estrogen derived from pregnant horse urine, and Provera, synthetic medroxyprogesterone acetate.
The Women’s’ Health Initiative was initially conducted to see if HRT would be protective against heart disease, cognitive decline, cancer, osteoporosis, and aging. It was determined that in addition to increased risks of cancer, strokes and heart disease, conventional HRT does not prevent dementia or alter its progression. Conventional HRT was shown to be protective against osteoporosis and colon cancer but the benefits of these two did not outweigh the risks.
Unfortunately, no study was conducted using natural bio-identical hormones that are reflective of the actual hormones we make in our bodies. The speculation is that natural hormones are better and may not have the risks associated with them that synthetic hormones do.