Possible Risks of HRT
Related risk of breast cancer with hormone replacement therapy
Menopause is a significant stage in every woman’s life. This stage can be viewed as the ‘trying stage' where most physical and emotional changes occurs. Most women can observe a change in the frequency of their periods. Some can experience a fast cycle of twenty- one days which would eventually be less frequent. When a woman nears her menopausal stage she is more prone to sicknesses. Symptom includes vaginal dryness and discomfort, osteoporosis, mood change, irregular menstruation and hot flashes among others.
Once a woman reaches menopause her body stops producing progesterone and estrogen. These are the two female hormones that are secreted by the ovaries that prepare the woman’s uterus for possible pregnancy. Hot flashes is a result of less estrogen in the body. Most women will the experience troubles in concentrating and constant mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that substitutes loss of body hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, to lessen or relieve these menopausal symptoms.
In the 1960’s estrogen became a known medication for hot flashes. In the mid- 1980’s progestins were added to estrogen as a supplemental drug for menopausal symptoms. The term hormone replacement therapy is used if two of the said hormones are utilized for a patient’s treatment. Many studies proved that HRT doses prevent bone loss after menopause thus lessens the risk of osteoporosis.
As any other treatment there are debatable health risks related hormone replacement therapies. The biggest alarm to patients taking HRT is the probable increased risk of breast cancer. A number of researchers believed that there is little increased risk of breast cancer among women who uses HRT on a short- term basis, meaning less than ten years. More than that, they might be prone to a higher risk. On the other hand, for those who have a genetic history of breast cancer or had been previously diagnosed with one, should definitely consult a doctor first before starting with any hormone replacement therapy.
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) conducted clinical trials that organized two hormonal replacement treatment trials. One with estrogen replacement only and one that utilizes both estrogen and progestin. Breast cancer risks did increase in WHI trial of both estrogen and progestin replacement theory. On the average, there were a total of 38 breast cancer cases per 10,000 women compared to 30 per 10,000 women noted on the previous year. Also, the test resulted to a noticeable abnormality of mammograms among women who took HRT. These added health risk would still have further studies for additional proofs.
In conclusion the WHI test concluded that there is no increased risk of breast cancer of estrogen replacement therapy alone. In fact there is an insignificant percentage of a possible lower risk. But take note that there has been an increase risk of breast cancer if estrogen is combined with progestin, which is what we know of as hormone replacement therapy. Meaning, the presence of progestin is a point to consider in breast cancer risk.
It is very important to consult your physician before deciding to use hormone replacement therapy. Remember that every individual has a different level of tolerance to certain sickness. The possible risk of breast cancer in HRT can be evident to some women and to some it may prove to be beneficial to them. It is crucial to get all possible information and make a mental note of the pros and cons of the treatment. Read related literature and get feedbacks from your friends who used the treatment before. With all this information plus a good advice from your doctor, you can confidently decide if home replacement therapy is right for you.