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Association Between Bone Loss And HRT Discontinuation

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Review on November 19, 2009

There has been wide spread controversy about the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and its potential side effects. For some women, this seems the best option to provide relief from symptoms of menopause, or to prevent certain health risks that come as a result of hormone loss after menopause. Some argue that the benefits of hormone use after menopause outweigh the potential side effects. Others adamantly believe that the potentially fatal risks associated with hormone use are not worth the relief it may bring. Such concerns arise in the issue of accelerated bone loss in HRT users. To determine if stopping HRT actually increased the amount of bone lose and the rate at which it was lost, this study was conducted.

The women who partook in this study were interested in the possible long term benefits associated with HRT. Included in the possible benefits that come with estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement is the prevention of osteoporosis, heart disease, and several other chronic diseases. Considering these positive effects, it is no wonder that many women turn to hormone therapy after menopause. However, though estrogen and progesterone hormone are natural in the body, they are not natural in this treatment. And because of this, it is most certainly not risk free.

One of the most frightening side effects connected with long term estrogen and progesterone hormone therapy is breast cancer. Other side effects for women who take hormone therapy after menopause include other forms of cancer.

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Taking hormone replacement therapy is not the only way to receive complications. Stopping hormone replacement therapy also can cause many unwanted problems for women after menopause. A group of physicians hypothesized whether the stopping of long term hormone replacement therapy could accelerate the amount of bone loss density in women after menopause.

495 women took part in this study. Each woman was assigned a three year treatment plan of Postmenopausal Estrogen / Progestin interventions. Their bone mineral density was measured in a follow-up study during the four years of treatment and four years after the treatment ended.

The conclusion revealed that bone loss is NOT lost at an unusually fast rate after discontinuing HRT use. Results also do not suggest that longer term use of hormone replacement therapy can lead to additional bone mineral density gain after three years.

The after effects of menopause including vaginal dryness, incontinence, hot flashes, loss of libido, and night sweat cause many women to seek treatment. A common form of treatment comes in the form of hormone therapy treatment. It has its list of both positive and negative effects but as this study has proven, stopping hormone replacement therapy after menopause will not cause an accelerated loss of bone mineral density.