Summary of Findings from Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Women Healths Initiative Research Study

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been a major field of research and also the subject of debate for decades, on the safety and efficiency issues related to it. Many lessons have been learned from the various research studies on Hormone replacement therapy and i have tried to summarize some of the major lessons.

  • In 1898, medical professionals could prove that HRT can reduce the uncomfortable symptoms faced by women during their menopausal days. At that time the treatment was quite crude, like feeding the fresh ovaries from cows.
  • Based on the early work, scientists developed drugs with the intention of hormone replacement. These drugs were quite efficient to treat the menopausal symptoms in women. But, scientists were not sure about the risk of hormone replacement therapy, as it could give rise to some other health problems including cancer. Many of the medical professionals revealed their opinion that menopause is just a normal health condition and not a disease to treat.
  • To conclude the everlasting debate of safety and necessity of hormone replacement therapy, Dr. Bernadine Healy of NIH (National Institutes of Health)  initiated a major study program on the health of menopausal women. The study was known as Women’s Health Initiative and it included around 160,000 women as participants. The study was supposed to examine the effects of not only the menopausal hormone, but low-fat diets, vitamin D and calcium supplements on women in their midlife. Everyone had a great expectation from this study with a positive hope that hormone replacement therapy would definitely be able to take care of severe and chronic health conditions of menopausal women, such as heart disease, breast cancer etc.
  • However, the result of the study did not come to be as expected. The study came to be effective to some extent as far as low-fat diets, calcium and vitamin D supplements were concerned. But hormone replacement therapy produced confusing reports, which led to the study being abandoned in the year of 2002. The study found that a particular combination of progestin and estrogen could increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, among  menopausal women.
  • Although the study of hormone replacement therapy was abandoned, many participants reported variety of data regarding the study. After evaluating the data, scientists found out that the effect of hormone replacement may not be as bad as it was reported. Actually the effect will vary depending on the dose and age of the person. However, this finding was not confirmed at that time.
  • The latest finding regarding HRT was reported on The Journal of the American Medical Association just few weeks back. Apparently, the findings sounded quite confusing, as it mentioned that some of the women under estrogen treatment have found to have significantly lower risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
  • The latest situation of hormone replacement study is definitely better than it was in 1898. The initiative of WHI was not a total failure. Scientists and medical professionals now have a better understanding on the subject after following the study in its long span. One of the confirmed findings of the study is that hormone replacement therapy is not at all suitable for women who have long past the menopause stage. But for others, this therapy could be effective in diminishing the risk of deadly diseases, if administered in proper dose.

The best lesson from the century-old research on hormone replacement therapy is that science can reveal surprising results over the time. There is more to learn on this subject and also about the behavior of science, as the research on hormone replacement therapy progresses with time.

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2 thoughts on “Summary of Findings from Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Women Healths Initiative Research Study

  1. Pingback: Dr. Bernadine Healy, ex-NIH Director succumbs to Brain Cancer | CureTalk - About New Treatments & Clinical Trials

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