YOUR HEALTH: Rethinking hormone therapy to treat menopause

BOSTON, Massachusetts – Hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain and more.

All are uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.

Menopause can happen in a person's forties or fifties; however, the average age in the United States is 51.

For the past decade and a half, many women have shunned hormone replace therapy after reports that hormones could increase the risk of breast cancer.  Dr. Mache Seibel, from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, says those life-threatening claims were off-base.

Dr. Seibel says estrogen replacement therapy, when done at the right time, is safe and highly effective.

The North American Menopause Society also presented this at its annual meeting in 2017.

The right time is what I call the 'estrogen window'," said Dr. Seibel whose written a book called "The Estrogen Window".

"And the 'estrogen window' is a window of time that begins when menopause begins and continues roughly for about ten years."

Karen started hormone replacement therapy a year ago.

"I was having a great deal of brain fog, my skin felt very dry, I was suddenly having weight gain, especially in the middle area."

Studies now prove estrogen is both safe and beneficial for most women early in their menopause.

"Estrogen by itself can actually lower the risk of breast cancer by 23 percent," said Dr. Seibel.   "It can lower the risk of heart disease by 32 percent."

Karen is convinced.

"I know my long-term health is going to be better and I'll, ya know, be avoiding potentially some very grave diseases by taking the hormone replacement therapy and the frosting on the cake is that my symptoms go away."

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.