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How did you make your decision about HRT?
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Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
It's been five years since the Women's Health Initiative study proclaiming hormone replacement therapy a danger for women. But more recent studies have provided us with new recommendations. WebMD deciphers the research ? and tells readers what they need to know when it comes to making a decision about HRT.

WebMD will have the full story later today.

How did you make the decision to take or not to take hormone replacement therapy for menopause? Share your process with us!
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bjhughes33 responded:
I started taking HRT several years before it was considered dangerous. I tried to stop taking it for a month but the hot flashes for me were just unbearable. I was sitting at work in the middle of winter with sweat dripping off my nose. I have never been a person who sweat profusely even in very hot weather. I decided to go back to HRT because it was much more comfortable for me. My family backed my decision because they became "afraid" of me when I wasn't taking it. Walk softly around Mom or she might blow up at you for no reason. My symptoms were so severe that I thought the comfort of myself and my family outweighed the possibility of later developing breast cancer or whatever they come up later on that might happen to me.
 
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MichV64 responded:
Having gone through menopause in my early 40's, my OB/GYN suggested that it would be a good idea for me to be on HRT. He said at 42, the benefits outweighed the risks. So, I stated taking them last August. I took them for 6 months but stopped after I figured out that the Prempro was the drug that was causing me to lose my hair. I have been off them now for 3 1/2 months and my is starting to get thicker. I would really like to be on some type of HRT and don't understand why Prempro would have this side effect when birth control pills never did.
 
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FranSE responded:
Since I had a hysterectomy for prolapse at 29 that left my ovaries intact, there was no clue when I started menopause. I never suffered with any symptoms such as hot flashes. When I was 55, my gynecologist said I must surely have entered menopause, so he started me on Premarin. I was 60 in 2002 when I read the report of the WHI study, as well as subsequent articles including one on women on Premarin only. I concluded that since I never had any symptoms and didn't have a family history that warranted my remaining on Premarin, that I would stop. I am now 65, and have as yet to have "hot flashes" or any other such symptoms. My health is basically unchanged, and I have had no sign of heart problems or cancer.
 
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Eve1947 responded:
I was 49y/p when I started HRT. My mother had Alzheimer's dz and I was beginning to feel confused and disoriented. I had, in fact, already made up my mind to begin HRT, so it was no surprise when my physician told me I was just starting menopause. That was 11 years ago. I find the hysteria that surrounded the WHI in 2002 offensive. Talk about ridiculous and unwarranted conclusions!T

The problem with statistics is that you can reach whatever conclusions you want, depending on the sample, who's funding the study, what you see when you first look at your results, and what you want to see. Do you jump to conclusions? Have you been financed by a drug company, the US government, ie, FDA?

Years later, and many women needlessly and perhaps dangerously are off HRT, things change. Women are no longer faithfully attending to their annual mammograms. And the study was designed for an age range that was, well, too much of a range. An aha! moment if ever there was one.

Happily, I had a thoughtful and non-hysterical physician who took time to discuss what the initial statistics really translated into - the true hard numbers driving the statistics!!! This is the most illuminating piece. Ask your physician what the statistics translate into per 1,000 women, per 1,000,000 women. Then ask a woman to make an informed decision. Does the risk so-called 'increased' risk mean 50 women out of 1,000 or 1 woman out of 1,000 will have a heart attack or breast cancer or stroke. What kind of breast cancer is most frequently diagnosed if HRT is involved?

WHAT MEANS MORE TO YOU? QUALTITY OF LIFE OR QUANTITY OF LIFE? Menopause goes on for years. And for some it's miserable. So many of my friends went the 'natural' route. They've been sweaty, insomniac, forgetful, angry, hysterical, unpleasant wrecks...shadows of the women I once knew and loved. And they don't look as good as they once did.

This is my decision. I'm sticking to it. I'm on .3 mg of premarin daily and 2.5 mg of provera 3X/week. My physician and NP are thoughtful, educated in statistics, calm health providers. And so am I.

eve1947
 
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Tilly93455 responded:
I was just taken off of Premarin. I had mentioned in an earlier blog that I had strange feelings in my face with tense feelings in my neck. These symptoms were on set by the starting of Premarin. Before that it was Cenestin, too strong (same category drug), anyways went to the doctor and he thought I was showing signs of "Bells Palsy", ensured him this all onstarted with the starting of HRT... I am 45 total Hysterectomy, he pulled me off of the HRT for a good solid week. Today is day 2 1/2 to see if face and other symptoms disappear. I still feel them slightly but they have gotten better. I guess I am sharing because pills do act differently with our different genetic make-up. I am still searching for the right one and will be trying something new this coming Friday. This will be my 4th attempt. I am still wondering if by tomorrow I will be in left field (mood wise) for work. I too want to stay healthy just like you and continue doing all the outdoor things I enjoy so much. So I will continue to go down this path and find the right solution for my genetic make-up.
 
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40Something1960 responded:
I decided long before I ever had symptoms that when the time came I didn't intend to suffer through it without hormone replacement. To me the definite benefits far outweigh the possible risks.
 
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Okiehealth responded:
I decided to, because I was going CRAZY, anxiety attacks, not sleeping, sweating, moody, tired, you name it. I read up on the different BC pills for pre-menopause and wella. Found one that really evened me out. With a little natural thyroid, I feel good as new. Depression had really gotten the best of me, now, everything looks more rosy, though I am a little heavier, but I am working on that too.
 
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lampshade68113 responded:
I had a total hysterectomy when I was 50 (I am now 58!) I went on lowest dose estrogen right after surgery. I did quite well on it! When the "scare" surfaced in 2001, I went off it. Within a few days, I started feeling like ....frankly, CRAP! My skin & hair started getting dry, I had no energy, & I felt I was starting to look old! I IMMEDIATELY went back on my low dose! I have been on it ever since, & I have "rebounded" quite nicely! I get yearly mammograms, & so far..negative! I plan to take estrogen for the rest of my life! If I still had my uterus, I WOULD NOT take the combination hormones!
 
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reeree59 responded:
well to tell you the truth begging had a lot to do with it. NO one wanted to give me the HRT. I have had a history of blood clots in my legs and they said they would come back if I went on this or I could get Cancer. Well the Hot flashes and the night sweats were so bad that I decided that i would take the chance and see if it would help. I have only been on it for a few days so i am not sure if it is working yet. The doctor also gave me the patch without progesterrin. I still have my uterus. but they say that if you do it on the skin and not orally that we may have good results and I will come off of it a soon a possible. I feel like I made the right decision for me. reeree59
 
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rosalee76 responded:
I HAD A TOTAL HYSTERECTOMY WHEN I WAS 24 YEARS OLD AND WAS PUT ON PREMARIN . I HAVE BEEN ON IT FOR 27 YEARS NOW. THE DOCTOR TRIED TO TAKE ME OFF IT AND THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER WAS TO UNBEARABLE MY FAMILY WOULD NOT WANT TO BE AROUND ME SO I KEPT ON TAKING THEM I GUESS I WILL BE ON THEM TILL I DIE.
 
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tarnold74 responded:
after hysterectomy including uterus, at age 40 I was put on premarin.625 & took it for 31 yrs. Then I became afraid about breast cancer & reduced dose over a year to nil.

But after a year I noticed definite loss in libido, poor skin tone, derriere disappeared & I became crabbier!! ( course that may be to do with age!). A couple of friends older than I counselled that they refuse to give up their estrogen. So I am crossing fingers & restarting premarin gently & already notice increased sexual interest. My Doc did not disagree.
 
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workingmom96 responded:
If you still have your uterus, you need to be concerned about unopposed estrogen. In combined HRT, the estrogen is the medication that helps your symptoms, but it can cause abnormal thickening in the uterus. The progesterone in HRT (combined) prevents that abnormal thickening. THickening of the lining without any opposition can lead to uterine cancer. You should discuss this with your doctor.
 
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shoppinqueen responded:
I'm 50,suffered with permi-menopause stuff for 2-3 years,toughed it out with nothing,I figured after I had my last period tat things would settle down and I'd start feeling better.Not so, the night sweats just kept coming, I started getting hot flashes during the day and my mood? I felt totally and utterly flattened.Sex drive? try none.

After seeing my doctor,getting a good mammogram and pap smear I started on prempro 10 days ago. I plan to stay on the regular dosage for 6 months,then to taper down to the lower dose. I'll probably reevaluate my use of the drug yearly with my doctor.I am relatively thin and small boned,at risk for bone loss and figured that along with help for the hot flashes,night sweats,sleep and mood problems makes HRT the right choice for me.

I slept for 8 hours last night, I haven't done that in a couple years
 
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texasbluebonnets responded:
MichV64

the reason the Prempro made you lose your hair, is because of the progestin that is in Prempro. When progestin gets into your body, it can be known to change into testosterone, and if your testosterone levels are too high, this can cause male pattern baldness. Progesterone is the hormone that can change to mimic testosterone in your body. if your progesterone levels are already at a normal level, it will change into something else to give it somewhere to go. which it usually changes to testosterone. you might try a progestrone cream instead of the pill because you can use less of it for the protection that it give against the estrogen if you still have your uterus. make sure your getting progesterone, and not a synthetic progestin. progesterone is more identical to our bodies.


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