Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) refers to a situation where women who have passed or are nearing the menopause stage are given the estrogen hormone to reverse their aging process. The body stops producing the estrogen hormone by the time a woman is nearing the age of 50 years. Women require estrogen and progesterone for their reproductive system to function properly. Despite playing an important role in a woman’s reproductive system, estrogen plays other important functions in a female body. Hormone Replacement Therapy seeks to restore the estrogen hormone that disappears as the body ages. Over the years, this treatment has been one of the most prescribed medications in America. However, research done in the recent past indicates that the medication has many side effects and therefore clinicians should discontinue it. (Slowik, 2009)
In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative carried out a study whose findings established that HRT increased the risk of contracting breast cancer. This saw a sharp drop in the number of older women who were willing to take this treatment. In 2003, another study done by the same organization found out that the number of women suffering from breast cancer had sharply dropped from that of the previous year. (Witter, 2007) This drop was attributed to the decision taken by older women to discontinue the use of HRT. This is true considering that the rate of breast cancer was growing at an alarming rate in the United States in the last 20 years before the study. The drop witnessed between 2002 and 2003 was the single biggest drop in the rate of breast cancer among American women at any given time in history. Although some people claim that the reduction of breast cancer during this period cannot be linked to the boycott of estrogen treatment, it is important to learn that the biggest drop in breast cancer was found to be in a form of breast cancer that relies on hormones for growth. This provides one strong reason why clinicians should not be prescribing estrogen replacement among their patients. (Witter, 2007)
On top of increasing the risk of developing invasive breast cancer, estrogen treatment has been linked to blood clotting in the veins. Eventually, these blood clots move to the lungs in what medical practitioners call pulmonary embolism. Although these conditions are rare, they can be fatal when they occur. It is therefore important for clinicians to evaluate their options before prescribing estrogen treatment. This treatment has also been associated with the development of asthma later on in life. On top of this, recent research shows that high doses of estrogen treatment increase the risk of developing gallstones and fibroids. It has also been proved that contrary to popular belief, estrogen treatment does not reduce the risk of developing heart disease. These facts account for the high number of women that have decided to discontinue estrogen treatment. (Family Doctor.Org, 2008)
For a long time, clinicians have been prescribing the use of estrogen treatment among aging women in the U.S. However, studies done in the last few years on the subject have reversed this trend. According to the findings of the reports, Hormone Replacement Therapy has been found to increase the risk of contracting breast cancer among aged women. On top of this, the belief that estrogen treatment reduces the risk of heart disease among older women has been found wanting. This calls for clinicians to discontinue the prescription of estrogen treatment among women who have reached menopause due to the health risks involved in the treatment.
Family Doctor.Org (2008) Hormone Replacement Therapy. Web.
Slowik, G. (2009) What are the Risks of HRT? Web.
Witter, D. (2007) Prescribing Hormone Replacement: What Now? Oncolog, Vol. 52. Web.