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Scared of HRT! Scared of HRT!

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Unread 08-05-2011, 08:51 AM
Scared of HRT!

I am almost a year into menopause and its getting unbearable (doesn't help with the heat here in TX!), i currently take a medicine for a mood disorder so that helps with the swings but I'm seriously sick of the hot flashes. I guess I'm lucky I don't have night sweats. I currently take Complete Balance, is no longer helping. I'm starting to get highly embarrassed, being 28 no one would automatically think menopause when they see me drenched! I'm terrified of HRT after all the info pointing towards a higher risk of breast cancer and other stuff. Any ideas? I'm willing to take medicine just not sure of my options, don't want to visit the doctor unprepared!

Thanks so much,

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Unread 08-05-2011, 08:57 PM
Re: Scared of HRT!

Hi Brittney!!!

28 is very young to be in surgical menopause without any Hormone Replacement Therapy.

It might help you to realize that HRT is not a medicine. It is hormone replacement. For those of us without ovaries, it attempts to replace the hormones that our ovaries would be making, if we still had them.

It is my understanding, that the higher breast cancer risk is related to the use of estrogen AND progestins. Progestin is a synthetic substitution for progesterone. Progesterone is what our bodies make, not progestin. Estrogen alone, and estrogen together with progesterone have not been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.

Do find a Dr who understands that surgical menopause is very different from natural menopause, and hopefully has an interest in the current estrogen products available now. There are many to choose from.

Here is a link to Hormone Therapy and Managing Surgical Menopause, which you may find very helpful.

I wish you the best!

Unread 08-05-2011, 11:12 PM
Re: Scared of HRT!

Thank you so much! Its horrible researching the net for information!
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Unread 08-06-2011, 12:11 AM
Re: Scared of HRT!

I understand why you are scared.
My doctor told me that since I had pre-cancer, I could not take it as I was prone to cancers.

There are different doctors that think differently, understandably.
I respect that.

I was checking out my cancer hospitals Continuing Medical Education Series for doctors and stumbled upon this presentation from The City of Hope in California. It is a very interesting and somewhat technical presentation about the history and safety of HRT.

Just google City of Hope, Duarte, Ca.
The click at the top of the page the title: "Education."
Then look on the left. The third title down is "Continuing Medical Education." Click on that one.
Next Click on CME e learning.
Then click on the middle of the page: "Grand Rounds in Oncology: How the experts treat Cancer Module 2" Go to the bottom on that page, click where it says "view program."

On the top left there is a PHd named James Lacy, Jr. He gives a good talk about: "Cancer Risk Associated With Menopausal Hormone Therapy."
It was slightly boring, but informative.

I won't be risking HRT, but I am 55.

I am not computer savvy, so I do not know how to do the "links."
Unread 08-06-2011, 05:13 PM
Re: Scared of HRT!

Here is another link to an article from the Mayo Clinic

You have to take everything into consideration when making your choice. Your can help you decide what is right for you based on your personal health history.

I am 55, with no current risk factors for estrogen fed cancer, and it was determined that for me, the benefits of taking HRT far outweighs any risk.

It is also important to realize, that if we still had our ovaries, they would be providing us with small amounts of estrogen for the rest of our lives. After menopause, the amounts of hormones decrease, but we still get them.

Unread 08-12-2011, 07:58 PM
Re: Scared of HRT!

I'm on HRT after having a hysto for uterine cancer. My MD was part of a study about HRT after low grade,stage1 and 2 cancer and feels it's safe.
Unread 08-12-2011, 10:02 PM
Re: Scared of HRT!

There are so many schools of thought with HRT. I initially feared it because my Mom and her sisters had breast cancer. But then my hormone DR said exactly what Kay M wrote in her first post.

And then she asked what age my Mom and her sisters were when they got breast cancer. They were in their 50's. After menopause. Biologically speaking, a woman's body is programmed to have babies in her late teens/early 20's and then die in her early 50's. But women of today live much longer. Yet our hormones run out by our early 50's. And though there are exceptions, there is a large percentage of women's cancers that happen after menopause. So when you look at it from that point, it does make sense that hormones can help keep us from disease.

It is because of this that I started HRT last year, even before my hysterectomy. My ovaries stopped working before their time (perhaps due to all the years I was on birth control pills?). I felt improvement after the first month, and continued to see improvement. It's a work in progress. I keep a daily symptom diary, which I review with my hormone DR on a regular basis, along with blood testing to see where my levels are so my dosage can be adjusted as needed. I didn't have a lot of the hormone/mood related after-effects some of the sisters have shared (was it luck or the HRT?). I did get some of my pre-HRT challenges back after my hysterectomy and blood tests have shown that my hormone levels have decreased (not unusual from all the blood lost during surgery). I know feeling my best is yet to come, it will just take some time.

One thing I've learned through all of this- some DR's treat the symptoms while others search for the cause (and then treat the cause).

Good luck to you, hope you are on the road to feeling better soon!

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