Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Actually Safe?
Medscape Daily News is reporting that traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is now considered relatively safe once again for women in perimenopause, menopause, and post- menopause years who are displaying symptoms of hormone imbalance.
The official statement discussing what is being called “the new guidelines and rationale” for HRT was released jointly by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the Endocrine Society.
Reiterating the health concerns for women surrounding HRT which had been brought to light by the release of the Women’s Health Initiative study in 2002, physicians and healthcare providers have now concluded that for some women, conjugated estrogens and progesterone (which are synthetic, pharmaceutical hormones) are safe and effective in treating symptoms of menopause.
The “consensus statement," which is endorsed by “fifteen leading medical organizations involved in women’s health” has concluded the following:
“Leading medical societies devoted to the care of menopausal women agree that the decision to initiate hormone therapy should be for the indication of treatment of menopause related symptoms. Although research is ongoing and these recommendations may be modified over time, there is no question that hormone therapy has an important role in managing symptoms for women during the menopausal transition and in early menopause.”
Because I am not a physician, but just a lowly women’s healthcare blogger and healthcare consumer advocate, I cannot offer an “official statement” on this report. However, I can offer my own opinion, which should only be construed as exactly that: my opinion.
There are two ways I think we can look at this new development. On the one hand, we can conclude that it is yet another example of how confusing and unreliable medical opinion is regarding which treatments are safe and which are not for women in menopause. It is nothing short of maddening for women who are trying to make informed choices about their health to have to constantly sort through contradictory views by the medical community on the safety of hormone replacement therapy.
On the other hand, I suppose we can look at it as more information which can actually help us makes better, more informed healthcare decisions. For me, personally, it drives me crazy. Not to mention, I don’t really care how many official sounding societies or titles stand behind a statement or point of view regarding certain medical treatments. If I am not comfortable with a particular drug or therapy, I will not take it or use it.
However, I suppose it’s always a good thing to have options. So, dear readers and sisters with me along this hormone journey, I will present to you this report and allow you to decide for yourself.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.