Review on November 05, 2009
Post menopause symptoms can really alter the normality of a woman's daily life. The most common post menopause symptoms- hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and loss of libido- can be both painful and frustrating for women. Menopause also affects several risk factors associated with coronary heart disease, suggesting that the fluctuation of hormones increases the risk of coronary heart disease in post menopausal women. In attempts to alleviate post menopause symptoms, many women turn to hormone replacement therapy. The effects of estrogen replacement therapy and hormone replacement therapy are studied in this article in correlation to coronary heart disease in post menopausal women.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is not an issue that can be overlooked. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of American women, causing more than half a million deaths annually. As women age, they are at a higher risk for developing coronary heart disease. Its occurrence is rare before menopause. As it is presumed that the loss of estrogen from menopause can cause CHD, it is also presumed that estrogen replacement therapy and hormone replacement therapy could possibly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in post menopausal women.
It is rare that estrogen is used alone as treatment in post menopausal women (unless they do not have an intact uterus) because of potential cancer increasing abilities. Therefore hormone replacement therapy, the combination of estrogens and progestins, is more commonly used for post menopause symptoms. Still, both estrogen replacement therapy and hormone replacement therapy have shown a beneficial effect on risk factors for coronary heart disease. Both treatments modify unfavorable lipid profiles, an important factor as elevated blood lipid levels are risk factors in the development of coronary heart disease in women.
Other Benefits of Estrogen Replacement Therapy and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Estrogen replacement therapy may prevent or delay Alzheimer disease. It also improves cognitive function. Increases regional cerebral blood flow and alleviates symptoms of dementia.
Hormone replacement therapy relieves hot flashes and night sweats and other post menopause symptoms. It also prevents osteoporosis.
Risks of Estrogen Replacement Therapy and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Replacement estrogen may increase endometrial and breast cancers as well as thromboembolic events.
There is not clear consensus linking hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer. Coronary heart disease causes three times as many deaths as breast cancer however.
Many women turn to estrogen replacement therapy and hormone replacement therapy to alleviate post menopause symptoms. On a positive note, these treatments can combat cardiovascular disease (a leading cause of death and women) and retard the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia. Unfortunately, it is not without side effects- both treatments may increase the risk of cancer. It is important for women seeking aid from post menopause symptoms to talk to their gynecologists about the treatment that is right for them.