Many women fear hormone replacement therapy due to the risk of breast cancer. They don’t realize that women who are not on hormones get breast cancer and that some studies indicate the risk of breast cancer is much lower than what was reported in the Women’s Health Initiative Study. Subsequent studies and reevaluation of those studies showed the risks are lower when looking at the timing of hormone replacement as well as the type. While no one can honestly say there is no risk, the risks and benefits must be individualized and when under the guidance of a functional medicine physician who can address your risk factors and personalize the hormones, you may find them safer and improve the quality of your life.
The Risk of NOT taking Hormone Replacement Therapy
The other thing to consider is that there is a risk of not taking hormones. Heart disease is the number one killer in women and hormones may offer some protection. Osteoporosis is very common. According to the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation: “Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. A woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.” Hormones can help these common conditions which are far more prevalent than the risk of breast cancer. Not taking hormones may increase the risk of these conditions and have a significant impact on the quality of your life.
Hot flashes are NOT Benign
Hot flashes were thought to be benign, and women wait for them to pass. They think it’s just hot flashes, nothing serious…. Hot flashes are not benign. They can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Women with hot flashes have significantly higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol and triglycerides and the blood vessels do not function properly. They constrict rather than dilate and decrease blood flow to the heart, brain and other organs and tissues.
Hot flashes are also associated with higher blood sugar, metabolic syndrome, and lower bone mineral density. They impact the quality of life by increasing mood disorders, sleep disturbances, neuroticism, anxiety, decreased cognitive function, and stress. These can have profound negative effects onpersonal and professional relationships and how you feel about yourself.
What to Consider and Ask Yourself
Now that you see how hormones can help and how lack of hormones can be harmful, assess your risks and how hormone imbalances are impacting your life by asking yourself the following questions and circling the signs, symptoms, or conditions you have. You may even want to rate how severe or frequent your symptoms are to get a complete picture. These symptoms can last for years and affect the quality and length of life.
- Do you have symptoms and are they severe enough to warrant attention?
Symptoms associated with hormone imbalances are menstrual migraines, heavy or irregular bleeding, cramps, infertility, mood swings, fibrocystic breasts, polycystic ovaries, bloating, fluid retention, breast tenderness, anxiety, irritability, impatience, insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, dry eyes, skin and vagina, bone loss, high cholesterol, poor memory, brain fog, weight gain and more.
- What risk factors do you have that hormone replacement therapy can help?
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar osteopenia or osteoporosis, frequent urinary tract infections, high coronary calcium score, family history of heart attack, stroke, dementia, and hardening of the arteries.
- How is this affecting you and impacting your life?
Less self-confidence, self-esteem, strained relationships, poor performance at home or work, poor decision making, less energy and motivation, poor quality of life and health, lack of fulfillment, more accidents or carelessness.
- What risk factors do you have that would preclude you from taking hormone replacement therapy?
History of breast cancer, age over 60, being 10 years past menopause or 10 years since on hormones, the BRCA gene.
Each person must weigh the risks and benefits of using or not using hormones or any treatment for that matter. Inaction carries a risk and that is often overlooked. You can learn more about women’s hormones, what they do and how to better manage them in the Care 4 U Course: “Estrogen/Progesterone Balance: Your Guide to Being Slim, Sharp, Stable and Supercharged.” In this 4 Module course, we bust some myths and you can assess your status, learn how to achieve balance naturally and be given the strategies and resources necessary to be slim, sharp, stable, and supercharged.
There is no substitute for a trusted physician who has knowledge and experience with bioidentical hormone replacement If you need further assistance, apply for a free no obligation clarity call to see if we are a good fit. The quality of your life can be greatly improved.