Why experts disagree on hormonal supplements for menopausal women

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Hormoner i overgangsalderen

Taking hormones can have consequences in the long run. However experts tend to disagree on the consequences an interpret results differently.

Hormones or not hormones? That question has probably crossed the minds of women who have had problems caused by menopause.

If you seek advice and guidance on the subject, you will soon realise that the answer can often depend on who you ask. Because there are different medical attitudes to hormone supplementation during menopause.

Looking 20-25 years back in time, about 50-60 percent of menopausal women in Denmark  would have tried hormone therapy. By 2020, that number has dropped to about 20 percent. That is a decrease of about 67 percent.

Interprets results differently

The reason for the declining number is, according to Professor Ellen Christine Leth Løkkegaard, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Nordsjællands Hospital, lies back in the 1990s, where the total advantages and disadvantages of hormonal treatment was conducted in a large study. 

However, the clinical trials were discontinued twenty years ago because it was found that women became more ill from hormonal therapy, which primarily resulted in blood clots in the brain.

Ellen Christine Leth Løkkegaard explains that the experts interpret the results differently, with some experts advocating hormoneal treatment, while others hold back. This is not least because there are both advantages and disadvantages to the treatment.

Pros and Cons

Looking at the benefits of taking hormones, the professor believes that the supplement is a “really good treatment” for hot flashes and sweating. Some women experience that the mood gets better, while others will feel a beneficial effect against vaginal dryness that women experience when estrogen levels fall.

If, on the other hand, you look at the disadvantages of hormone therapy, it is important to keep in mind that there are receptors for hormones in all cells of the body. In some organs hormones have a beneficial effect and in other organs it has a harmful effect. Therefore, there is a bill to pay in the long run when a woman opts for hormone therapy.

”We discuss how big that bill is, and how much one should look at it in relation to making the decision to take hormones, and there we do not completely agree. This is similar to the discussion about whether the glass is half full or half empty. Some experts choose to look at the consequences in the short term – because there are also – and then some look at the long-term complications of hormone treatment, “she explains.

A matter of 

According to Ellen Christine Leth Løkkegaard, a woman must therefore look at how bad her conditions is before making the decision on hormone supplementation.

”If you have a really bad toothache, you may need to take a pill that may give you stomach ulcers. But you take the pill because you have so much pain in the tooth that the crucial thing for you in that situation is that the toothache disappears. In the same way, it is with menopausal symptoms,” she points out.

When asked if one should fear hormones, Ellen Christine Leth Løkkegaard answers that as a woman one must be aware of the advantages and disadvantages associated with the choice. ”Women do so many other things that are not so healthy, for example, they smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol and various other things that you should also be critical of. Women must make the choice on an informed and informed basis. Some people find that if you do not drink red wine, do not consume so much coffee, eat a little differently and move a little more, then they are actually fine. For others, it is completely incompatible to be able to complete their work and have a good life without getting any hormone replacement for the hormones they are now lacking. If you feel that you have to do something, then you have to talk to your doctor about what the options are, “she advises.

Hormones for a maximum of five years

Women who have breast cancer, are at high risk for breast cancer or have had a blood clot in the brain should completely refrain from hormone therapy. If you are looking for alternatives to hormones, you can look at your diet and exercise habits and lifestyle. Ellen Christine Leth Løkkegaard says that there is also evidence that red clover tea to a certain extent has a beneficial effect on heath and sweating.

Danish Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology, recommends that you take hormones for a maximum of five years and gradually reduce them. It has not been proven that you can avoid the symptoms coming back. But by stepping down slowly, one can trick the body into making sure the symptoms do not come back. Therefore, one should not interrupt a course abruptly as the symptoms recur.

Why women lose hormones

In childbearing age, a woman “lays” an egg every month, which in theory can be fertilized so that the woman can become pregnant. In connection with the production of eggs, some hormones are produced. The hormones help to effect the entire maturation of the egg.

In the first half of the cycle, the process is dominated by estrogen. For the second part of the cycle, it is a combination of estrogen and progesterone. As the woman loses her fertility when she reaches menopause because the ovaries run out of eggs, there is in the production of estrogen and progesterone further from the ovaries. The woman experiences a drastic drop in estrogen and progesterone she has no more of.

Women take hormones as a supplement to the lack of production from the ovaries. She can either take hormones as tablets, gel or in other forms.

Derfor er eksperterne uenige om hormonbehandling i overgangsalderen

 

By editorial staff

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