Estrogen therapy was once believed to be the fountain of youth. However, by the 1970s there were reports that it could lead to endometrial cancer, thrombosis, and hypertension. Doctors like Dr. Dominique Fradin Read now encourage their patients to make decisions for their health based on what medicine now sees as the benefits and risks of hormone therapy for women.
Estrogen therapy was once believed to be the fountain of youth. However, by the 1970s there were reports that it could lead to endometrial cancer, thrombosis, and hypertension. Doctors now encourage their patients to make decisions for their health based on what medicine now sees as the benefits and risks of hormone therapy for women.
The Benefits of Hormone Therapy for Women
There are several potential benefits of hormone therapy for women. The first is that the therapy can reduce or eliminate hot flashes. This would be especially beneficial if a woman is suffering from menopause or estrogen deficiency. A second benefit is that the therapy can reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, some cancers (breast cancer). Another benefit is that it can increase bone density.
The Risks of Hormone Therapy for Women
However, there are also risks of hormone therapy. These include:
- Decreased bone density and calcium absorption due to high estrogen
- Increased breast cancer
- Low iron levels can increase the risk of infections
- Increased risk of osteoporosis
- Increased risk of serious cardiovascular problems.
You may be lucky and never develop a side effect, but there are always risks associated with drugs. Dr. Dominique Fradin Read says that in rare cases, male patients may develop a blockage in the vas deferens. This can cause significant problems, even leading to infertility if permanent treatments are needed. Men treated with estrogen therapy were at a higher risk for significant sexual dysfunction compared to those not on the drugs, with a few participants developing sexual dysfunction after 10 years of therapy.
Unfortunately, many women do not realize that estrogen is not a magic bullet to all their pre-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. Know the possible risks is essential for making an informed decision.
What to Consider When You’re Deciding
The North American Menopause Society counsels women to discuss their concerns with their physician and to realize that many things, including costs, need to be considered.
You must also make sure that you’re doing the research yourself and understand what to look for when you’re considering hormone therapy for women.
Women should evaluate the potential benefits balanced by their knowledge of potential risks. If you don’t know whether hormone therapy has been found to be beneficial for you, it’s time to explore the options and the risks. This is particularly important in your forties, as you might notice changes in your body.
A study from The Cleveland Clinic advises against any hormone therapy in the cases of:
- Known or suspected pregnancy
- Recurrent or active endometrial cancer
- Active or past breast cancer
- Recurrent or active blood clots
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding that has not been evaluated
- History of stroke
To avoid negative side effects, it’s important to research and take advantage of all available medical treatments. The question you should ask is whether estrogen therapy is more effective at easing the symptoms or making cancer go away.
It’s time for women to trust their intuition. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you to alter your health. Your body knows how to heal itself. It knows what it needs to stay healthy. And you must allow it to do that.