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Hormone replacement gets a fresh look

For many years, hormone replacement therapy was standard practice for women with premenopausal symptoms. But it fell out of favor after studies showed that women on these drugs were developing decreased vascular function and slight increases in the incidence of breast cancer, stroke and dementia.

According to "Moods, Emotions and Aging," by Phyllis J. Bronson, a Colorado-based researcher who advises women with hormone-based mood disorders, this "set off a wave of misinformation." Doctors began advising patients to stop the therapy, and as a result, Bronson writes, "many women started feeling lousy without their hormones."

Bronson attributes HRT’s side effects to the fact that commonly prescribed hormones are synthetic. She argues that women would respond better to bioidentical hormones, which are chemically identical to the hormones women make in their bodies. Such hormones, Bronson says, can improve a woman’s mood and sense of self without the negative consequences of synthetic versions.

Bronson builds her case using her own story and those of the women she advises who have had success with bioidentical hormone therapy. She breaks down what happens to various hormones as women age, and how they can affect sexuality, emotional well-being and overall health, particularly age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Still, not all doctors agree with this, and Bronson advises women to exercise caution. "Proper use of real hormones, those that mimic what is native to us as women, can help ease the transitions of life and aging by making women feel more optimistic and vital," she writes, but using them "as part of a quest for the ‘fountain of youth’ is not good medical practice."

– News wire services

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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

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