“You mean we can take Estrogen now, after 60, we can start now? I was hoping I would be allowed to take estrogen for specific issues but also because frankly, I have read that the benefits can help with the aging process like our memory, bone health, heart health and our skin…. Is this really true I asked one of the top Doctors, Dr. Susan Hardwick-Smith, GYN, who is the founder of the Complete Midlife Wellness Center in Houston.
“Absolutely… but not orally, but yes, every woman in menopause and after menopause should find a Dr. to talk about this topic and educate themselves!”
“I was told I had missed the window… and now after 60, I was 10 years post menopause and it was risky?”
“This is not true,” said Dr. Susan.
“How could I/We have been so misled? Two years ago my very smart OB told me I had missed the window on Hormone Therapy as I was 10 years post menopause.”
“This is so frustrating to hear but thank goodness for Susan Dominus’ New York Times article….”Women Have Been Misled About Menopause,” published on Feb 1 (just 2 weeks ago).”
“Yes, that’s why I called you… we need to continue this conversation. My friends in their 60’s all were told absolutely NO Hormone Therapy and 2 weeks ago, since this article was published we are learning this is no longer true… this is so upsetting that we were so misled but how do we know what the truth really is…can we just rely on this article?”
“Dr. Susan continued….The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2002 virtually put an end to hormone therapy help with its findings and now, after 20 years, thank goodness women can go to their Doctors armed with this information from this article and ask the questions to get the help they need for menopausal symptoms.”
We talked further about why the research had been halted in 2002 with the WHI study. We talked about the way the information was presented to the public in 2002 and that the group of women in the study was deeply flawed (too many women over 60 in the study, many of them with health issues already etc.) and how this had put the kabosh on prescribing Hormone Therapy for so many women.
“So of course that explains when I turned 50, no Doctor offered me relief from my menopausal symptoms which I just had to live with. And, that explains why I was told to just deal with this, and told ….don’t drink coffee, no more wine, wear layers so you can strip down easily when the flash hits.
That explains why 15 years ago Hormone Therapy was available to me but Doctors wouldn’t prescribe it. I remember them telling me it was off the table due to the risks of breast cancer and heart disease. But now that is not the case. To think I could have gotten relief back then and a jump start on hormone therapy benefits like help with memory, skin, sleep, libido, mood swings and hot flashes and so much more. But there’s no going back.
Dr. Susan went on to share her favorite quote from the New York Times article which we both chucked about….
“Imagine that some significant portion of the male population started regularly waking in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, a problem that endured for several years. Imagine that those men stumbled to work, exhausted, their morale low, frequently tearing off their jackets or hoodies during meetings and excusing themselves to gulp for air by a window. Imagine that many of them suddenly found sex to be painful, that they were newly prone to urinary-tract infections, with their penises becoming dry and irritable, even showing signs of what their doctors called “atrophy.” Imagine that many of their doctors had received little to no training on how to manage these symptoms — and when the subject arose, sometimes reassured their patients that this process was natural, as if that should be consolation enough……
So here we are in 2023, It’s time to continue this conversation about HRT. It’s time to do our own research when we talk to our Drs and if they are not versed on this topic, we have to seek help elsewhere.
Next week I will share a conversation with Dr. Susan about what we can do after 60…and the risks. Some of the questions we need to ask our Doctors. This is a pivotal time for all women over 50 and we need to be well informed.