Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Cause Breast Cancer?

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New Popularity of Hormone Treatment

In the past, I have written about the recent surge in testosterone treatment for men.  If you have read up on this topic and seen some the data, you know that the vast majority of most men who are being treated for Low-T could naturally restore their hormone levels by making simple lifestyle changes.  It shouldn’t come as any surprise that a clean diet and regular exercise are just as effective in regulating hormones.

The truth is that the surge in hormone treatment for men can be attributed in large part to marketing efforts by pharmaceutical companies.  For companies trying to make a profit by selling testosterone patches and supplements are an easy sell.  It is a lot easier to convince consumers that their sluggishness is caused by low hormone levels rather than that extra 30 pounds they are carrying around.  An instant solution is a lot more enticing than giving up rich, indulgent foods and putting the effort into regular exercise.  Yet, the reality is that for many men, testosterone supplements are simply treating the symptoms and not the problem.

menopauseWomen and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

These revelations about Low-T treatments naturally lead to the question of whether or not women should be taking part in similar hormone replacement therapies.  For years, doctors readily prescribed hormones for women with menopausal symptoms.  Doctors believed that not only did hormones stave off symptoms like hot flashes, but that they could also helped prevent the onset of chronic ailments like heart disease and dementia.  The medical community was so confident in the effectiveness and benefits of hormone replacement therapy, that it became the standard of care for women.

HRT and Breast Cancer

Today doctors are much more hesitant in prescribing hormone replacement therapy because over time, this seemingly simple solution turned out to have a whole host of potential side effects.   Perhaps most significant is the fact that women who take estrogen and/or progesterone experience an increased risk of breast-cancer-myths-mdnheart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer.

Up until the year 2000, rates of breast cancer had been increasing for two decades straight.  After the turn of the century, incidents of breast cancer started to decline, including a notable decrease of 7% from 2002-2003.  So what was the major contributing factor that caused this turning point?  The answer is a drop in the use of hormone therapy.

Natural Remedies

This isn’t to say that hormone therapy isn’t an effective treatment for a significant number of women.  The danger is in overprescribing this treatment and running the risk of triggering life threatening and chronic diseases.  For women who want to avoid taking hormones, there are natural treatments that may also yield significant benefits without disrupting your body’s chemistry.

hot flashSymptom:  Hot flashes

Remedy:  Black Cohosh

This plant derivative can be taken in pill form, mixed in water, or steeped to make a delicious tea.  It is also often used to treat headaches and is thought to ease depression.

Symptom: Bones Loss

Remedy:  Vitamin D

Most people get their daily dose of vitamin D from the sun, but as women age they have a harder time absorbing this vitamin.  A deficiency can result in a loss of bone density and increase your risk of injury.

Symptom:  fatigue and anxiety

ginsengRemedy:  Ginseng

Ginseng has been used to increase energy and reduce stress for thousands of years.  It is often referred to as a normalizer because it can help level out your mood and other chemistry systems that regulate your body.

Taking a supplement and making sure to eat foods that are rich in vitamin D can protect your bone health.

yogaSymptom:  Irritability and depression

Remedy: Yoga

The benefits of yoga are far reaching and applicable to a variety of ailments including and beyond menopause.  Because it focuses on mindfulness, breathing, and movement, yoga is a great way to reduce stress and relieve depression.

Conclusion

Ultimately, for some women (and men) hormone replacement therapy may yield benefits that far outweigh the risks.  The key is to be aware of potential side effects.  While studies vary in their conclusions of how significantly the risk cancer increase with the use of hormones, there is enough of a correlation that you should think twice before beginning this type of therapy.

Talk to you doctor about natural remedies and be sure to exhaust all other alternatives before resorting to hormone replacement therapy.

 

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