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Top Myths About Hormones and Hormone Replacement

Let’s give you the facts to Healthier & Happier Living

Unfortunately there are many myths and false narratives when it comes to women and hormones. The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study which began in 1991, hoped to give women definitive answers on hormones. However, what women were given was a messy study with questionable early findings. Now that we can look back 20 years, the medical community needs to apologize - TO YOU!

Most Common Fears Surrounding Hormone Replacement

Hormones Cause Breast Cancer.

This has to be the #1 objection and question I get when women come to see me seeking relief from their menopausal symptoms. The WHI study was designed to study aging but included studying hormones. Findings in early data created an abrupt halt to the hormone arms of the study. Looking closely at this flawed study, we now know that hormones are not as “scary” as we once thought.

Hormones that are used to treat menopausal symptoms today closely or exactly resemble the hormones our body once produced. In fact, there are studies ongoing looking at women who have had breast cancer to determine if they should be on hormone replacement. Tossing HRT out the window because of the breast cancer scare has seen a generation of women who have suffered unnecessarily.

Hormones Causes Blood Clots.

This is probably the second most common objection or question from patients. I once had a patient who was told that since she was a flight attendant, she was not a candidate for hormone replacement. So should all women flight attendants not take birth control? Should women who are on birth control not fly? The simple answer here is NO! The increased risk of blood clots is seen in ORAL Estrogen and not topical Estrogen.

Hormone replacement has come a long way in 20 years and we now have creams and patches that do not have the same risk of oral estrogen. One other point, HRT estrogen is about one tenth as potent as birth control. Seeing a provider who has training in hormone replacement can put you at ease and give you all the right information to help you feel comfortable with your decision to use or not use hormones.

Menopause is just something I need to get through.

Sorry ladies, once you “enter” menopause, you will forever be in Menopause. Your hot flashes and night sweats may subside, but the effects of no hormones can be far reaching. Bone loss, brain fog, weight gain, muscle loss, anxiety, insomnia…..the list goes on. There is research to suggest that women who have hot flashes throughout the day, are at higher risk of cardiovascular (heart) problems.

Addressing symptoms with appropriate treatments, whether medication, lifestyle changes and/or supplements is necessary for women to continue to be productive in society. Most women experience peri and menopausal symptoms in their early 50’s. This is just when women are reaching the height of their professional career and when a busy family life reaches its peak. Study after study shows women who experience hot flashes at work rate their performance lower. Giving women their hormones back, may help them feel more confident at work and at home.

Are hormones right for every woman?

Not necessarily. There are individual considerations that all women should make along with their healthcare provider to decide if HRT is right for them. With so many options available, the goal is to start the conversation and hopefully normalize and not villainize hormones. Seeing a healthcare provider who is familiar with HRT and all the options available is key to having a successful menopause journey.

Jennifer Gularson, PA-C, IFMCP is a board certified Functional Medicine practitioner who specializes in hormone replacement for women and men.

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