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Another reason to be on HRT

Posted by
Robn Abrams
(RAbrams@waveseeker.com) on
Mon, Apr 30, 01 at 11:46

For every reason there may be Not to take HRT, there is probably a good one to take it. I just heard a story that could have been avoided.

My aunt told me of a friend of her's 70 yrs old, who had her whole bladder colapse and had to have very invasive, extensive reconstructive surgery. Her Doctor said this would have never happened if she had been on Estrogen. She also suffers from devistating Osteoporosis. Another aunt of mine also had the same thing happen to her rectum (not on Estrogen)

I am not really an HRT advocate, just a people advocate and am sharing notatble news.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Had either of these two elderly women had a hysterectomy? Cystocele and rectocele are more common in women who have had hysterectomy than in intact women. Also poor past obstetric care, numerous pregnancies, multiple pregnancies, large babies, obesity, and chronic constipation can predispose a woman to these kinds of problems.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Hi Leigh,

I don't know about my Aunt's friend, but my other aunt never had a hysterectomy, never had children...and wasn't all tht old...late 60's...Go figure


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

I am watching my mother, who is very proud that she never took any type of hormone, suffer from Parkinson's of undiagnosed cause and osteoporosis. She has had parkinson's since she was about 60 and at 77 is incapable of caring for herself. Also very poor memory bordering on dementia. If a little hormone will act as insurance against this kind of condition, I'm all for it. I hope my children never have to care for me in this way.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

I was wondering if there is anyone on this forum taking premarin and provera. I want to know how this is working for them. On this site I am afraid to admit I have been prescribed this for fear of the horror stories. Aside from being horses urine,I would like some honest comments from those who are actually using it. Thanks


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Angela
I have been on Premarin for almost 4 years. So far so good, I know, the horse thing, but as with most medicines, there will be controversy. I had a total hysterectomy and was put on a high dosage for 6 months and gradually reduced to the lowest dosage. It stays in your system for a few weeks at least, when you stop taking it. It would be wonderful if we could all breeze through menopause without any ill effects, but that's just not happening for many of us. I personally am thankful we have the medical knowledge to deal with this. I can remember my mother talking about women going through "the change" that ended up un mental institutions. We are indeed fortunate.
Peggy


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Peggy,
Thank you for replying. I am glad to hear it is working for you. I have not yet started taking it. Just scared I think. I have high bp and have had back problems most of my life so my doc feels this is right for me. I have not had a period since Dec00 except what I would call spotting for a week. I have felt better since then. I am extremely fatigued most of the time.Also since the spotting week I have had no hot flashes or night sweats so not sure if those will return. I told the doc if I got my period then I would wait three months or so and take it. Not really sure why I am putting it off except that I hate taking pills.


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Joan

Hi Joan,

I'm truly about what you're going through with your mom. It sounds like she has a great supprort system. I saw my dad deteriorate for 2 years from a devistating brainstem stroke. I know too well the pain of seeing your parents become completely dependent.

Please feel free to email me if I can help in any way or if you just want some support.

Robin


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Hi Angela and others,

I've been on Premarin (0.625 mg pills - the little red ones) for about ten years (I started menopause in my early forties). I'm very happy with it, partly because of the long-term health benefits and also for the short-term benefits. Osteoporosis is a particular problem in my family, and the menopausal 'sleep disturbances' (waking up every hour, all night, every night) were driving me crazy.

For the first few years I also took Provera (10mg/day for 10 days each month) but then switched to Prometrium (micronized progesterone), which seemed to cause less PMS-like effects (though it still makes me a bit shrill and jittery when I take it). I only take it for ten days every few months, rather than every month, because of a family history of breast cancer. The latest data suggests that Premarin alone causes only a modest increase in breast cancer risk, but that Provera (and probably other progesterones) increases the risk quite a bit more. The reason to take a progesterone with estrogen is to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. But this is a small risk anyway, and many doctors think that the progesterone doesn't need to be taken every month.

Last year my doctor suggested I switch from Premarin to one of the non-steroidal estrogen receptor modulators (I forget its name), because these drugs are good for osteoporosis and heart disease but don't increase the risk of breast cancer. But these drugs don't help at all with the immediate problems caused by menopause (in fact they often make them worse), and after two days of terrible sleep disturbances I went back to my Premarin.

The bottom line: Premarin makes my present life much nicer than it would otherwise be, and I think the data shows that in the long term it will do most women more good than harm. But everybody's experience of menopause is different, so see if it works for you (give it at least a month).

Rosie


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Rosie, I'm interested in your statement, new studies about Premarin and modest breast cancer risk. Could you tell me where to find more information about this? Thanks
Peggy


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

I have a 58 year old sister who had a total hysterectomy with BSO at the age of 29 for severe endometriosis. She's been on Premarin since the surgery and never had any problems with it. In spite of her concern for animal welfare, she plans to stay on it; she figures there's no reason to change something that has worked so well.

When I was 51, having debilitating hot flashes and disturbed sleep for weeks, my doctor suggested Premarin and Provera on a cyclic schedule. I felt fantastic while taking the Premarin, but dropped to the bottom of the well of despair while on the Provera, had to discontinue both.

I have spoken with several women who are very happy taking Premarin, Premarin/Provera, and Prempro.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

It seems to me this is a very individual thing. My mother took estrogen (Premarin) for years & she does have problems with her bladder, and also dementia (possibly Alzheimers). One of my older sisters has also taken estrogen for years, and so far she has no problems. Another sister tried to take it & had a bad reaction (skin rashes) so she quit taking it and toughed it out without hormones, & she's fine. She said she had some "warm flashes" & mood swings for a year or two. She also doesn't eat sugar & exercises daily, so that probably helps with her overall health!
This forum is very helpful -- it shows that there are a number of solutions to these problems.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Hi Peggy and others,

I originally learned from a newspaper article about the research that studied how progesterone affects the increased risk of breast cancer caused by estrogen. In response to Peggy's question I found an abstract of the research paper in PubMed; I've put the link below.

I also downloaded a pdf of the whole paper (not just the Abstract) and read it, and sent an explanation of what I think it means by email to Peggy. If you'd like the pdf and my explanation, please email me (address above) and I'll email them to you.

Rosie

Here is a link that might be useful: HRT risk paper


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Robn and others:
I have recently recovered from extensive bowel resection surgery, (perforated diverticulitis). My Surgeon and family Doctor have suggested HRT as I am 48 yrs. and in early stages of menopause. Apparently HRT is very helpful in preventing future bowel and bladder problems (as mentioned by several of you). I also have developed aching in the hip joints which could be early osteoperosis so want to prevent any furter damage. My mother-in-law took nothing and suffered terribly with osteoarthritis in later years. I think we need to take advantage of of all the help we can get. I'm presently on Estrace and Prometrim and feel good except for occasional headaches and some spotting. Not uncommon considering it's been just over a month since starting. I think HRT is worth considering. Val


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

We are so fortunate to live in these present times. Here we are, able to communicate with each other as if we were best friends, about the most intimate details of our lives. I thank everyone who posts on these forums for sharing their innermost feelings and problems. Knowing we're not alone in our sadness/confusion, etc. does make it so much easier. Our poor mothers and grandmothers kept so many secrets for fear that they'd be looked upon as "crazy"; and little did they know that everyone else was going through the same thing. So again, thank you, ladies, and thank you, God, for the world we live in today.

Having said that, I would like to ask if anyone is using Estrace. I had a "partial" (still have ovaries) hysterectomy at age 38. I started to get hot flashes several years ago (about age 47) so the doctor put me on the Estrace. I actually didn't have any problems with it, other than weight gain (probably NOT caused by the pills but more than likely by my eating habits!). But about one month ago I saw Dr. Nancy Sneiderman on Good Morning, America, talk about taking HRT; and she SCARED THE HELL OUT OF ME. After hearing what she had to say,(ovarian cancer, breast cancer) I threw away my pills. WELL...... the hot flashes, night sweats, sleepless nights, etc., have been unbearable. I decided to start taking the pills again, only now I'm taking 1/2 pill each day. I still am getting some hot flashes, but not nearly as severe and I'm hoping that once the Estrace is back in my system for a period of time, the flashes will stop.

I'd like to hear about others who might be on Estrace. Thanks!


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

I was wondering, who is Dr. Nancy Sneiderman? What did she say that was so scarey?


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RE: Nancy Synderman

I found out the information. It's Nancy Snyderman and she is a medical correspondent for GMA. She has written a book about good health for women over 40. Just wondering what she said about HRT.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Basically, what she said was that women who are taking hormones should rethink it. She said there are confirmed links to breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer. I wish I could remember more of what she said but she was so adamant about it, I was in shock!


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

If you check the package insert that came with your prescription you will find the links to uterine and breast cancer listed on it. If your doctor did not discuss this cancer risk with you, s/he has been grossly remiss in performance of his/her duty. One of the reasons for including steroidal estrogens in the list of known human carcinogens was to force doctors into discussing this aspect of hormone use with their patients. This presupposes that the patient actually reads the documentation that comes with the prescription of course.

The link to ovarian cancer is a much newer discovery. A paper published in the Mar 21/01 JAMA suggested a more than doubling of risk and more than doubling of deaths from ovarian cancer in women who used hormones for more than 10 years. If you go to the JAMA home page and look in that issue you will find the information.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Okay, so what is the alternative to HRT? Has anyone had positive results from using over the counter drugs for hot flashes? I can't concentrate at work when I'm having them so frequently (when I went off the pills). I tried one over the counter drug (can't remember the name) but it did nothing for me....


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

This resumption of symptoms (esp. vasomotor ones like hot flashes) is not unusual when you stop hormones. Tapering off the pills instead of stopping them abruptly may lessen this effect. There are also many non-drug alternatives ranging from deep breathing to fans to dressing in natural fiber layers. Switch to all cotton bedding and nightclothes if you wear anything to sleep in. Leave a fan (ceiling if you have one) on overnight to lessen the number and severity of night sweats. Hot flashes tend to happen in spurts. If you tough it out for a few weeks you may find that they disappear on their own. Of course they may recur but knowing that they are temporary can make it easier to cope with them. Keep a diary of your hot flashes for awhile. See if anything particular - a food, stress, etc. triggers them and then try to avoid the triggers. I found that sugar/dense carbohydrates triggered major hot flashes and night sweats and avoiding those after mid afternoon helped tremendously. Exercise may help. There are many other practical non-drug suggestions on the Menopause and beyond web site. To get to it, go to google and use tishy and menopause and beyond as your search terms.

Have you had a hysterectomy? Do you still have your ovaries? I ask because you mention only estrogen and not a progestin. If you've had your ovaries removed, your age might also be a factor in deciding whether or not to stop the hormones entirely.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Leigh, thank you for your answering me. Yes, I had a hysterectomy when I was 38. I'm now 51. I still have my ovaries, so I am only on Estrogen. I don't have any other symptoms other than the hot flashes.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

I've seen over and over advocates of over-the-counter products for the various "symptoms" of menopause. I've successfully used some of them myself...black cohosh, wild yam, kava-kava and New Phase (mostly soy and red clover). My main concern is osteoporosis. Does anyone have links to five REAL studies that show that o-t-c remedies will prevent or stop this condition? Thanks.


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

Hi all --
I was interested in the postings about the benefits of hormones for older patients. My friend's mom was put on estrogen as a measure to prevent osteoporosis. It turned out she had the beginnings of ovarian cancer and it went crazy feeding on the hormones. The doctor said it was fortunate the hormones brought the cancer to light so it could be treated, otherwise she might have gone on for years with it undetected. She was so lucky she died in less than two years, but at least she didn't have osteoporosis!


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RE: Another reason to be on HRT

She was so lucky she died in less than two years, but at least she didn't have osteoporosis!

So it's better to die of cancer?? Having trouble understanding what you mean by this.


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