ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY DRUGS

These drugs are principally oral contraceptives and the pros and cons can be read about in the relevant sections .

In principle, 50 per cent of ladies who embark upon HRT will not be using the medication within the first year. The side effects are pronounced and efficacy against the symptoms of menopause is limited. The protective benefits against osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease are still poorly evaluated and need to be balanced against the carcinogenic risks of breast and uterine cancer.

The pharmaceutical industry has gone to great pains to promote the lack of oestrogen as being the main factor in menopausal symptoms although there is strong evidence that progesterone is strongly associated and special reference should be made to the section on the menopause where HRT is discussed at great length. Much research continues into HRT and a new form is being examined known as a Selection Oestrogen Receptor Modulation . This type of HRT acts on tisues such as bone but, apparently, does not affect other oestrogen receptors such as those found in the womb thereby reducing the incidence and risks of cancer. The same, apparently, may be the case for Breast Oestrogen Receptors. Unfortunately, these SERMS do not have such a strong effect on the hot flushes and night sweats that encourage people to take such drugs.

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