Advice on using HRT please: What are the pros & cons?

Posted by love4life @love4life, Feb 20, 2019

Dear friends,

please kindly help me make an informed decision regarding HRT (Hormone replacement therapy for menopause). I am not sure whether I should use it. I am 45 years old, and I lost menstrual cycles. I have no gynaecological problems and no menopausal symptoms. Actually, I feel great.
Three years ago, I had total thyroidectomy due to papillary thyroid cancer. I also did RAI therapy. Thanks God, I am completely healed (as this type of cancer is curable due to developments in medicine).
I suspect that I lost cycle a bit earlier due to all these problems with thyroid, as I noticed changes in cycle after RAI therapy.

Anyway, I have to make a decision now on whether to use HRT, not due to menopausal symptoms (I do not have them), but in order to preserve my health for the future. I read the Mayo clinic guideliness, but as it happened in 45 for me (last period when I was 44), I am not sure in which age group I belong. Am I prematurely in menopause or not? If "normal" is between 45-55, what is 44? Should I use it until "normal" age for menopause, which is 51, or everything between 45-55 is normal....meaning....I am almost normal:))) LOL.

I found conflicting research and opinions regarding HRT, especially regarding the risk for breast cancer. For instance, on one site I found information that HRT "increases breast cancer risk by about 75%", while everywhere else it says that there is a risk, but it is small. As I am healed from thyroid cancer, I wish to care about my health and not increase the risk for other cancers.

In particular, I would like to understand whether it is possible to care for my health with other medicine or supplements (like vitamin D, calcium, omega 3-6-9 etc.), instead of HRT?

I would like to understand whether I will miss something important for my health if I avoid taking HRT now.

Sorry for such a long post, but I needed to explain in order to present a clear picture. Thank you so much for your advice.

I wish you all great health and happiness!

🙂

P.S. I included links to sources I mentioned in the post, but had to delete them, as the message could not be posted with links.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Women's Health Support Group.

I am almost 80 years old, and I am a medical researcher (PhD) and an intersex woman, and still teach a wee bit at a large med school.
Being intersex means for me, my body never made adequate amounts of any sex hormone, and because of this, I take HRT for decades now. These days, all prescribed hormones are bioidentical, and I am still of the opinion that many family doctors have little knowledge about hormones. Men and women have the same hormone receptors, they just need to be stimulated to react to estrogen or testosterone. One does not need any specific medications to remove the metabolized hormones from the body, we have the liver doing this for us.
We all need a certain amount of hormones, including testosterone, to live well and have energy to do our day to day work. The best medical professional who can decide which amounts of hormones would be good for you are endocrinologists. No other medical professional, including myself, has as much knowledge about hormones and our endocrine system as the endocrinologists have. All they other medical professionals can give themselves any fancy name their education in med school was not really geared to the hormone needs of humans.
For me. HRT is a life saver, without it, I would be gone many years ago already! An endocrinologist can analyze your bodies needs and prescribe the right amount and composition of HRT to prevent any DVT or cancer.
Linde

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@digitalsandy

My breast cancer was estrogen hormone therapy related!
For 7 yrs. now, have been on estrogen blockers. Also, consuming
Soy in any form is not in my best interest, as it converts to Estrogen
In the body. Farm raised fish are fed soy pellets. Tofu is soy, etc.
Would rather have hot flashes than Cancer...wouldn't you?

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i'm sorry. I'm wondering at what age you started your HRT? was it just estrogen or combo with progesterone? how long did u take it before you got cancer diagnosis? does cancer run in your family? thanks and i hope you are feeling better or have kicked the C out into remission by now.

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@wicher

I too would strongly recommend not taking the hrt (hormone replacement therapy ). I was on it for far too long and was diagnosed with hormone receptor positive breast cancer two years ago. Myself and others believe the breast cancer is likely because of long time use of ERT. Unfortunately, my GP never mentioned the risk. Now that I'm taking anastrozole, I'm dealing with other "unpleasant side effects" one being awful hot flashes every two hours.

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I'm sorry about your C. I'm wondering at what age you started your HRT? was it just estrogen or combo with progesterone? how long did u take it before you got cancer diagnosis? does cancer run in your family? thanks and i hope you are feeling better or have kicked the C out into remission by now.

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@razmus

I wanted to jump in on this conversation about HRT. I am 77 years old and have been on HRT (Estradiol) for 27 years (post hysterectomy). When I started menopause I was living in Albuquerque, NM. , had a female gynecologist about my age. She strongly encouraged me to read the Women's Health Initiative Report of 2002. She said the study was deeply flawed and after reading it and using my somewhat limited knowledge of statistics I had to agree. Since then I have had two male GYN's who both agreed that taking HRT is a quality of life issue. They have both said that taking women off HRT in the early 2000's was a disservice to most women who had no contraindications to taking HRT. My current male GYN said that women who use HRT tend to have better collagen in their skin and are healthier. I do not have a family hx. of breast cancer and no other medical contraindications to using Estradiol. My bone density tests indicate normal bone density. Incidentally my mother died at age 71 from issues related to severe osteoporosis. I know of other women who have taken Fosamax and were unfortunate enough to be in the small group who developed necrosis of the jaw. I have also noticed that the RX meds to restore bone are extremely expensive. I currently pay $12 for a 90 day supply of Estradiol from Sam's Club. I also live on the Mexico border and HRT is available in Mexico without a prescription. Obviously HRT may not be for everyone but for many of us it is appropriate. I don't plan to ever discontinue unless absolutely medically contraindicated. Fran.

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hi thanks for sharing! i'm wondering if you are also no progesterone? or just estradiol?

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@glogirl

hi thanks for sharing! i'm wondering if you are also no progesterone? or just estradiol?

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I had a total hysterectomy at age 56 so currently take just estradiol. Previous to the hysterectomy I was on progesterone and estradiol. Just an update: I am now almost 78 and going strong with HRT. There have been even more studies done on HRT that continue to indicate the huge disservice to women when millions went off of HRT in response to the WHI study. Fran

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I am 80, have been on estrogen only since age 50 (hysterectomy age 38) and do not intend to stop ever. I use estradiol patch at lowest dose. I do not think there is harm from it and there are positive benefits.

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I would only do HRT under doctor's control ... in 1994 before my periods even stopped, the Gyn gave me a prescription and told me to start when my periods stopped. I had no problems. So I did and after a year a new gyn found a large growth. I had to do an unltrasound, MRI and finally laporsocopic surgery to confirm it was a fibroid. At the time I had to change doctors and within the 6 year had gone from 6cm to10cm. One doc wanted to do surgery but I said no and I quit the HRT. Within 3 months the thing shrank back to 6cm on the ultrasound. I don't know what kind of HRT I was on at the time...but that is proof that it caused fibroid growth. I still have the fibroid it has not shrunk much more and it obscures the ultrasound.

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HRT does wonders for the skin, prevents sagging and just makes you look younger and feel better. I stopped it once and felt like I aged 20 years. I started estradiol after complete hysterectomy at 60 and am now 83. I have no family history of breast cancer but do have strong family history of strokes and cardiovascular problems. I keep my blood pressure under control. The only negative I have is vaginal discharge, just fluid and no itching or blood, and that has gone on for a long time. I will talk to my gyn in my January appt about this.

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I had to jump on this conversation also. I started on perimenopause too early with lots of hot flashes and was prescribed Premarin which I took for two years. It just so happens that I did a lot of reading because I wasn’t doing well and my thyroid had gone haywire. So I started on Bio identical hormone replacement therapy and that saved my life. I’m 69 yo, healthy, people say I’m on my forties; athletic, play pickleball and high energy with great sex life. That’s what BIHRT will do to you and it’s so much healthier than synthetic hormone. I do all three hormones but have a hormone panel testing done always to see what my body needs. Do your reading. It helps your heart, skin, bones and quality of life and much more.

REPLY
@lindes

I am almost 80 years old, and I am a medical researcher (PhD) and an intersex woman, and still teach a wee bit at a large med school.
Being intersex means for me, my body never made adequate amounts of any sex hormone, and because of this, I take HRT for decades now. These days, all prescribed hormones are bioidentical, and I am still of the opinion that many family doctors have little knowledge about hormones. Men and women have the same hormone receptors, they just need to be stimulated to react to estrogen or testosterone. One does not need any specific medications to remove the metabolized hormones from the body, we have the liver doing this for us.
We all need a certain amount of hormones, including testosterone, to live well and have energy to do our day to day work. The best medical professional who can decide which amounts of hormones would be good for you are endocrinologists. No other medical professional, including myself, has as much knowledge about hormones and our endocrine system as the endocrinologists have. All they other medical professionals can give themselves any fancy name their education in med school was not really geared to the hormone needs of humans.
For me. HRT is a life saver, without it, I would be gone many years ago already! An endocrinologist can analyze your bodies needs and prescribe the right amount and composition of HRT to prevent any DVT or cancer.
Linde

Jump to this post

Totally agree!! I have done a lot of research on this issue also and have been on BIHRT for over 15 years and love what it does for me!! My body also never made enough hormones since at an early age I had my tubes tied which led to cysts in my ovaries and a lot of complication from there on. I which I had the knowledge then that I have now because I’m living the best life ever now and lost many precious years because of the lack of the right amount of hormones.

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