preparing for your visit pre-register for your appointment, get a price estimate and review your pre-appointment checklist. while hrt is proven to be effective in treating symptoms, it can be risky for certain women, such as those with a history of breast cancer. while these medications sound promising, are they too good to be true? according to the fda, the hormones classified as bioidentical and natural are neither safer nor proven to be more effective than traditional hormone replacement therapy. allison ward, m.d., an obstetrician and gynecologist at piedmont, says every woman should be well-informed about her options so she can make the best choice for her health and body.
“you cannot overestimate the importance of sleep, especially when you are already experiencing moodiness and anxiety. [lack of sleep] can be a recipe for disaster for many women.” “every woman has a different threshold for pain and discomfort, so it really is something every woman has to decide on her own. however, there are two dr. ward often recommends to her patients: there are some women who cannot take estrogen, such as those with a history of breast cancer. they include: “bottom line, hormone replacement continues to be a complicated subject. i can’t assure you that it is a safe option, but you have to analyze your quality of life,” says dr. ward.
as women learn about the proven health risks of conventional hormone therapy drugs, many are looking for natural alternatives, such as herbs and dietary supplements. one alternative therapy — products known as “natural hormones,” or “bio-identical hormones” — has attracted substantial new interest now that conventional hormone therapy products’ health risks have been made clear. it is very important for women to know that these products are not necessarily safe just because they are “natural.” the same questions we ask about menopause hormone therapy drugs’ safety and effectiveness need to be asked and answered for alternative therapies, too. the natural hormones most commonly recommended for women going through the menopausal transition are: a large industry produces and sells these alternative health care products, in much the same way that pharmaceutical companies promote the drugs they make.
regardless of whether they are recommended by a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a naturopath, or the cashier at a health food store, women should be skeptical of products that claim to extend life, reverse aging, restore youth, or prevent disease without any adverse effects. the national women’s health network (nwhn) has long urged the fda to exercise better oversight of alternative hormone products, petitioning the agency throughout the years  to do more to ensure that women get reliable and accurate information about these products. in january 2008, the fda took action against misleading marketing claims about natural hormones sold by compounding pharmacies, instructing these pharmacies that the safety and effectiveness claims they were making about bio-identical hormone products “are unsupported by medical evidence, and are considered false and misleading by the agency. “ the agency also warned that selling products containing estriol is a violation of federal law because the fda has never approved this product. we urge the fda to do more, including to publish regulations about the appropriate labeling and advertising of pharmacy-compounded hormone therapy products.
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