Cross-posted from Global News
Good news for women in their 50s — the health risks related to hormone therapy with estrogen, aimed at treating menopause symptoms, might go away after women stop the treatments, according to a study.
Research focusing on more than 7,000 women showed that while both stroke and blood clots increased during treatment with estrogen, there was no significant difference in health risks after 10 years between those who took hormones for treatment and those who hadn’t, the study — published in the Journal of the American Medical Association — said.
“But that doesn’t mean continuing to take them for five to 10 years won’t have some health risks emerge,” said Graham Colditz, at the Washington University School of Medicine, who wrote an editorial published with the study.
The study centered on some of the women who had also participated in the U.S. government-funded Women’s Health Initiative, the study that first raised concerns about the safety of hormone therapy.
In 2004, data from the WHI showed that taking estrogen by itself increased women’s risk of stroke and didn’t reduce their risk of coronary heart disease.
The 7,645 women in the study had all undergone hysterectomies before joining the WHI, and were assigned to a group that received estrogen pills. They were followed for 10 years — six of estrogen treatment with Premarin, and four years after ending the treatment.
During the treatment, their risk of stroke was 36 per cent more likely and blood clots was 47 per cent more likely in the estrogen group versus a group that took placebos.
But after 10 years, there was no significant difference between the groups in these conditions.
For women in their 50s, estrogen treatment even appeared to have some benefits over time, being linking to a 46 per cent drop in the risk of a heart attack and a 27 per cent drop in the risk of dying after 10 years.
Women in their 70s, though, did not get the same benefits, and for some conditions their risks rose if they took estrogen.
“If you’re a woman in your 70s, there’s very little reason to initiate estrogen,” said Andrea LaCroix for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and the lead author of the study.
The risk of breast cancer in this study appeared to be the same between women who took estrogen and those who didn’t, though other studies have found a link between breast cancer and hormone therapy.
Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Beware. The Premarin family of drugs contains pregnant mare’s urine, hence the name. In pharmaceutical terms, pregnant mare’s urine is referred to as conjugated equine estrogen, although recent labeling simply calls it “conjugated estrogen”, omitting “equine.” The Premarin family of hormone replacement therapy drugs is made by Wyeth, now a division by pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer.
About the Horses
To collect the urine, Premarin mares live a life of almost continual pregnancy. While in foal, the mares are made to stand for the duration of their pregnancies, placed in cramped stalls too small for them to turn around in or lie down, with rubber collection cups hooked tightly around their urethras. They are routinely denied free access to water to concentrate their urine.
Once Premarin mares have foaled, they are impregnated at the earliest opportunity, an dreturned to the “pee-line”. The foals, referred to as a “by-product” of the Premarin industry, are sent to auction with a high percentage ultimately going to slaughter.
The average lifespan of a Premarin mare is 12 years old. When Premarin mares are no longer able to bear foals, they in turn are sent to auction where they are vulnerable to killer buyers acting as middlemen for horse slaughter plants.
What You Can Do
Regardless of the “benefits continue versus dangers continue” question for humans, there are no benefits and the dangers continue for the mares and foals used and cast off by this pernicious industry.
- Refuse to take Premarin and its family of HRT drugs, such as Prempro.
- Send our Patient to Doctor letter to your treating physicians.
- Talk with your doctor about taking one of the many humane alternatives to Premarin.
- Alert the women in your life about this issue.
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