Reducing The Cancer Risks Of Hormone Therapy
If you and your doctor decide that MHT is the best way to treat symptoms or problems caused by menopause, keep in mind that it is medicine and like any other medicine its best to use it at the lowest dose needed for as short a time as possible. And just as you would if you were taking another type of medicine, you need to see your doctor regularly. Your doctor can see how well the treatment is working, monitor you for side effects, and let you know what other treatments are available for your symptoms.
All women should report any vaginal bleeding that happens after menopause to their doctors right away it may be a symptom of endometrial cancer. A woman who takes EPT does not have a higher risk of endometrial cancer, but she can still get it.
Women using vaginal cream, rings, or tablets containing only estrogen should talk to their doctors about follow-up and the possible need for progestin treatment.
For women who have had a hysterectomy , a progestin does not need to be a part of hormone therapy because theres no risk of endometrial cancer. Adding a progestin does raise the risk of breast cancer, so ET is a better option for women without a uterus.
Women should follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for cancer early detection, especially those for breast cancer. These guidelines can be found in;Breast Cancer Early Detection.
The Womens Health Initiative
This study is part of the very large Womens Health Initiative Clinical Trial and the Womens Health Initiative Observational Study. Both studies are commonly called the WHI. Together, the two studies include information from more than 161,608 postmenopausal women who were ages 50 to 79 when they joined between 1993 to 1998. The WHI wants to find any links between health, diet, and lifestyle factors and health problems such as cancer.
Causes Of High Estrogen
High levels of estrogen can develop naturally, but too much estrogen can also result from taking certain medications. For example, estrogen replacement therapy, a popular treatment for symptoms of menopause, may cause estrogen to reach problematic levels.
Your body may also develop low testosterone or low progesterone levels, which can upset your hormonal balance. If you have estrogen levels that are abnormally high relative to your progesterone levels, its known as estrogen dominance.
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Womens Health Initiative Studies Of Hormone Therapy And Cancer Risk
Several large studies have looked at possible links between systemic hormone therapy in menopausal women and different types of cancer.
The main randomized studies of MHT were part of the Womens Health Initiative . The WHI included 2 randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials of MHT in healthy women:
- One study looked at estrogen therapy in post-menopausal women who didnt have a uterus. Over 5,000 women in the ET group took a daily dose of estrogen in the form of conjugated equine estrogen for an average of about 6 years. The researchers then continued to follow them for several years to look for any further effects of the hormone. The women were compared to more than 5,000 in the placebo group.
- The other study looked at estrogen-progestin therapy in post-menopausal women who still had their uterus. Over 8,500 women in the EPT group took a daily dose of CEE plus a progestin called;medroxyprogesterone acetate;for an average of about 5 years. This group was compared to a group of more than 8,000 women in the placebo group.
The WHI also conducted some observational studies. However, when we mention a WHI study below, were referring to one of the randomized studies.
Best Ways To Use Flaxseed
A few tips on how to use flaxseed to reap its medicinal properties:
#1;;Always buy it in seed form and grind it freshly in a coffee or spice grinder. Grinding flaxseed makes lignans more bioavailable.
#2;;Flaxseed oil does not contain lignans unless ground flaxseed has been added to it.
#3;;Amount One to two tablespoons per day of freshly ground flaxseed is the recommended medicinal dose.
Learn how to add more hormone-balancing ingredients to your meals with our FREE 19 Estrogen Balancing Superfoods Guide here.
What about flaxseed oil?
Im not a fan of flaxseed oil for a few reasons: ;;; ;;;;
- It does NOT contain lignans, which are the beneficial phytoestrogens I covered above.
- It gets oxidized very quickly and loses its medicinal properties this is why it has to be refrigerated and kept in a dark container.
- It contains ALA only which still needs to be converted to the bioavailable Omega 3 which is in EPA and DHA form.
- It contains no fiber.
Womens Health Is Our Purpose
The Association for Womens Health Care is familiar with a womans need to maintain balance in life, and in her hormones. Hormones that are out of whack can wreak havoc, causing hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and similarly uncomfortable conditions. Our dedicated physicians strive to help our patients achieve balance in their health and their hormones.
The Association for Womens Health Care, with offices in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois, is determined to make our patients experience a positive one. For women, your lifelong good health depends largely on your gynecological care, and our team takes that responsibility seriously. ;
How Low Estrogen Can Affect Your Body
Estrogen is a very busy hormone for women throughout their lives. Men have some too, but women have more. Estrogen is primarily active in reproductive development and health for women, but its role is far greater than that.
Estrogen is actually a group of sex hormones, each of them performing different roles in womens health and development. Estrogen helps make women curvier than men by making their pelvis and hips wider, and their breast grow.
Estrogen is part of your menstrual cycle, helps you get pregnant, and plays a role in helping you develop bones and grow hair. It also helps regulate your moods and impacts your brain development and structure.
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Types Of Studies Of Hormone Therapy And Cancer Risk
Different types of studies can be used to look at cancer risk from menopausal hormone therapy .
Randomized controlled trials:;In this kind of study, a group of patients get the drug being studied , and another group gets a placebo . Results from this kind of study are powerful because which group a patient is in is based on chance. This helps assure that the groups are similar in all ways, such as risk for cancer, except for the drug thats being studied. This is the best way to see the effects of a drug. These types of studies can also be;double-blinded,;which means neither the people in the study nor their doctors know which group they are in. This lowers the chance that thoughts or opinions about treatment could affect the study results. Unfortunately, these kinds of studies are costly, which limits the number of people in the study, how long the study can continue, and the number of studies done.
A major drawback of observational studies is that the people getting the treatment being studied may have different cancer risk factors than the people who arent. Plus, the treatment can differ between the people being studied. This makes it less clear that the differences seen are only due to the drug being studied and not other factors.
When observational studies and randomized controlled trials have different results, most experts give more weight to the results of the randomized controlled trial.
Information On Estrogen Hormone Therapy
Overview of Feminizing Hormone TherapyUCSF Transgender CareUniversity of California – San FranciscoJuly, 2020
Hi, I’m Dr. Maddie Deutsch, Associate Professor of Clinical Family & Community Medicine at the University of California San Francisco , and Medical Director for UCSF Transgender Care. In this document I will review various aspects of feminizing hormone theray, including, choices, risks, and unknowns associated with feminizing hormone therapy.
As you prepare to begin treatment, now is a great time to think through what your goals are. Do you want to get started right away on a path to the maximum degree of medically appropriate feminizing effects? Or, do you want to begin at a lower dose and allow things to progress more slowly? Perhaps you are seeking less-than-maximal effects and would like to remain on a low dose for the long term. Thinking about your goals will help you communicate more effectively with your medical provider as you work together to map out your care plan.
Many people are eager for hormonal changes to take place rapidly which is totally understandable. It is important to remember that the extent of, and rate at which your changes take place, depend on many factors. These factors primarily include your genetics and the age at which you start taking hormones.
There are four areas where you can expect changes to occur as your hormone therapy progresses. Physical, emotional, sexual, and reproductive.
The first is physical.
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All Soy Is Not Created Equal
As soy is the most concentrated source of phytoestrogens for the typical American, its important to examine the safety of soy itself a subject debated quite a;bit. So, is soy bad for you;or good for you?
The answer is not a simple yes or no. Its more complex. The difficulty of understanding the effects of soy is caused mainly by the form of available soy in the U.S. There is soy to eat and soy to avoid and unfortunately, most soy in the U.S. falls into the latter category.
In Japan, one of the healthiest places on Earth, soy is a prevalent staple. However, the soy there is not genetically modified. That used to be the case in the U.S. as well. In 1997, only 8 percent of soy was genetically modified. As of 2010, about 93 percent of the soy in the U.S. was genetically modified; and thats definitely not something you want to have in your body.
Another factor in the soy discussion is unfermented versus fermented soy. Unfermented soy contains a laundry list of nasty things you should avoid. Fermented soy, on the other hand, is a great probiotic food.
I advocate the removal of all soy milk, soy protein and most other forms of soy from your diet. The exception I generally make is for soy lecithin, a fermented soy product that has several health benefits.
Remember, if youre a woman entering or going through menopause and may benefit from phytoestrogens in your diet, soy is not the only source.
What Are The Side Effects Of Hrt
About 5 to 10 percent of women treated with HRT have side effects which may include breast tenderness, fluid retention and mood swings. In most cases, these side effects are mild and do not require the woman to stop HRT therapy.
If you have bothersome side effects from HRT, talk to your doctor. He or she can often reduce these side effects by changing the type and dosage of estrogen and/or progestin.
If you have a uterus and take progestin, monthly vaginal bleeding is likely to occur. If it will bother you to have your monthly menstrual cycle, discuss this with your health care provider.
Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Hormonal Mood Swings
Natural Estrogen: How Good Is It For You
Estrogen is a female hormone that regulates basic functions in both men and women, although especially in women. Natural estrogen is found in plants and also in a wide range of plant-based foods with weak estrogen activity.
Natural estrogen is also known as phytoestrogens, Phyto is a Greek root word that means, quite literally, plant.
This is a nod to the fact that phytoestrogens are compounds that occur naturally in plants.
However, even though phytoestrogens are plant-based, they function in a very similar way as animal estrogen in humans.
Thats why when a person consumes phytogens or natural estrogen, their body could respond as if real animal estrogen were present.
We will go over how natural estrogen can be good for you, which foods it can be found it and also the risks taking too much estrogen could cause you.
Remember, though, before you choose any health plan -even natural health plans!- you should always consult a doctor.
What This Means For You
While the WHI found that estrogen-only HRT reduced breast cancer risk, a number of other studies have found that both types of HRT increase breast cancer risk. So the issue is far from resolved.
Menopausal side effects can dramatically reduce quality of life for some women. These women have to weigh the benefits of HRT against the risks. If you’re having severe hot flashes or other menopausal side effects and are considering HRT, talk to your doctor about all of your options. Ask how you can minimize your breast cancer risk and relieve your symptoms. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of different types and doses of HRT.
If youve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you should not take any type of HRT.
If you do decide to take HRT, try to take the lowest dose possible that still meets your treatment goals. You may want to ask your doctor if estrogen-only HRT is a good option for you. You also may want to ask your doctor about vaginal or transdermal HRT.
To start the discussion with your doctor, you may want to review the North American Menopause Society HRT guidelines:
Learn more about menopause and ways to manage side effects on the Breastcancer.org Managing Menopausal Symptoms pages.
Maintain Adequate Estrogen Levels
Scientists use estradiol as a marker for circulating estrogen. A typical estradiol test produces results ranging from zero to 400 pg/mL , according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Your gender and age nicely predict your personal score. Within normal levels, premenopausal women range from 30 to 400 pg/mL, postmenopausal women range from zero to 30 pg/mL, and men range from 10 to 50 pg/mL.
Read more:What Is a Healthy Estrogen Level?
Hormone Replacement Therapy May Cause Side Effects Tell Your Doctor If Any Of These Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:
- changes in sex drive or ability
- brown or black skin patches
- swelling of hands, feet, or lower legs
- bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods
- changes in menstrual flow
- dark-colored urine
- light-colored stool
Hormone replacement therapy may increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer and gallbladder disease. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
Hormone replacement therapy may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .
Recommended Reading: Does Nugenix Have An Estrogen Blocker
What Menopause Symptoms Can Estrogen Relieve
Estrogen taken as hormone therapy during menopause can be beneficial. The hormone is prescribed to relieve:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness that can result in painful intercourse
- Other problematic symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats and dry, itchy skin
Other benefits of taking Estrogen as HT include:
- Reduced risk of developing osteoporosis and reduced risk of bone breakage
- Improvement of mood and overall sense of mental well-being in some women
Stay Aware Of Your Risks
Estradiol levels often spike during the transition to menopause. This age-related increase causes complications like eating disorders. In fact, the authors of a 2018 paper in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy argued that estrogen dominance plays a role in all age-related pathologies, including autoimmune disease.
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Importance Of Maintaining Proper Estrogen And Progesterone Levels
It is crucial to maintain proper hormonal balance to protect the body and the brain from decline.
A person can have high estrogen, and low progesterone and testosterone levels, or all three hormones can be low, or any other combination. Each change brings different problems to the body. Ensuring proper hormonal balance is the work of a doctor who specializes in hormone replacement therapy.
Much information is present in the media about estrogen therapy adverse effects based on research presented in the Womens Health Initiative report. The risk factors were increased when estrogen was used with synthetic progestin which is not the same thing as bioidentical progesterone therapy.
To ensure safe estrogen replacement benefits, women should request comprehensive blood analysis and only use progesterone and not progestin therapy.
For more information about estrogen and progesterone therapy, how to get tested for hormone imbalance, and how to receive treatment, contact Kingsberg Medical for a free consultation.
Learn More With Overcoming Estrogen Dominance
The body has an amazing ability to heal. We just need to give it the right resources.
In Overcoming Estrogen Dominance, my goal is to empower and give you the tools to take control of your hormones and health.
More than 70% of women experience estrogen dominance. The symptoms range from lumpy and fibrocystic breasts to thyroid nodules, hot flashes, fibroids, uterine polyps, painful, heavy or irregular periods to infertility and miscarriages, from mood swings to insomnia, weight gain to fatigue.
So many women have experienced the pain and frustration that comes when, sitting in their doctors exam room, they feel their symptoms and complaints are dismissed or minimized. They feel unheard, helpless, with no control over their bodies or the underlying issues that are causing their debilitating symptoms. This is particularly true for women who are experiencing the symptoms of hormone imbalance. Even when doctors do offer treatment, its typically in the form of prescription medication or invasive surgical procedures.
In Overcoming Estrogen Dominance, I hope to show that those extreme interventions are often unnecessary, and to give women a roadmap to ease and erase their symptoms using food, herbs, supplements and natural protocols to re-balance hormones.
My goal is to help reverse the impact of estrogen dominance naturally, helping you lead a symptom-free life, without fear.
To get your copy of Overcoming Estrogen Dominance, go here.
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