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Estrogen therapy

Simbluej's picture
Simbluej
Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2006

I am wondering if anyone out there has any advice or experience to share. I'm 25 and with all this I am now in early menopause. I'm ok with that and everything but my gynocologist wants to to start on estrogen therapy. I am really reluctant to do that because I know it increases breast cancer risk...especially beginning at such a young age and it is only intended for short-term use. I am already pretty high risk for breast cancer and I gotta say thought of increasing my chances at all and going through this again is incredibly unappealing to me. My doc says I have risks of osteoporosis if I don't begin. I am wondering if I could just start taking more calcium for that instead of hormone therapy. Does anyone have experience with hormone replacements? Any advice would be highly welcomed. Once again thank you all for your wonderful posts.

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Hummmmmmm, I just heard from a friend of mine. Her mother has been battling metastatic colon cancer for a very long time. Chemo isn't effective much any more...soo,

They are putting her on TAMOXIFEN, the breast cancer 5-year ANTI-estrogen drug. She knew I was on it from my 2nd round with the beast, breast cancer...I was SO surprised!!!!

WHY does your gyn want you on HRT? 5-10 years ago, everyone going thru menopause was routinely put on this regime. And then, well, breast cancer, etc, changed the medical community into more wisely choosing who should and should not get this. It comes down now to if the symptoms severity outweigh the risks of HRT (sorry, Hormone Replacement Therapy), then it is perscribed. I am taking calcium/Actonel to keep my bones dense...no sides...for my osteoporosis following my complete hysterectomy with my rectal cancer. I am also twice your age at 51.

If I were you, I would press more as to why....if it is just a 'threat' of osteoporosis, well, with what you are saying about your risk for Breast Cancer, I, myself would probably choose not to do it, and instead just ask for follow-up DEXA scans (bone density).

Sigh, 25....so young for colon cancer!!!!

Hugs, Kathi

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

My advice would be to either push for more answers and/or find a second opinion.

We recently moved and I am now under the care of a new OBgyn. After discussing the cancer thing (I was dx the day after my 27th bday and am now 29) she does not want to put me on ANY type of birth control that is hormonal because of the cancer risk. Her explanation is that the hormones can help to feed the cancer.

I know this doesn't help your question of just taking a calcium supplement, but Caltrate has a Calcium supplement for Colon health. That's what I take (when I'm going good on taking supplements anyway).

Take care,

Tricia

lfondots63's picture
lfondots63
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi,

I would agree with the others. I was pushed into early menopause with chemo also. It is slowly reversing itself the last two months. How long ago was your chemo? Like the others, I would lean more to taking extra calcium or eating calcium rich veggies. Lots better for you then the HRT. I'm so sorry you have to go through this struggle at such a young age. I'm 42 with 4 kids already so I was cheering when I went menopausal (sp?) and got depressed when it came back... Sigh. HUGS and tell us how it goes.

Lisa F.

musiclover's picture
musiclover
Posts: 242
Joined: Oct 2005

Please don't take anything until you read these links posted below. HRT will do little to help osteoporosis. Good old bone bearing exercise (weight lifting, running) and an alkaline diet will do the job. There are too many risks with HRT. You'd do better on Progesterone cream which actually builds bones. Progesterone depletes completely at the time of menopause, that is the hormone that needs attention and we only hear about the estrogen.

Resisting the Broken Bone Businesses: Bone Mineral Density Tests and the Drugs that follow
http://www.nealhendrickson.com/McDougall/2004nl/041000.htm

The Right Diet Will Save Your Bones
http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/030100.htm

Dairy Fails Children's Bones (under "Five Favorite Articles")
http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2005nl/march/050300.htm

scouty's picture
scouty
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

I completely agree with Musiclover!!!!!! Progesterone cream is my latest miracle "drug with no side effects)!!!!!!!! I just got some last week after a few years of night sweats, etc. I could tell a difference within 24 hours!!!!

Don't believe all you hear about the need for calcium supplements, they are way over rated and if you buy the wrong kind, you just pee it all out.

Lisa P.

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1254
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Lisa -

So, what do you hear about progesterone cream? Night sweats are driving me nuts - I am seriously considering trying this, but at the same time I have a hard time with the arguments I have read that say while exogenous estrogen is not "natural" for post-menopausal women, somehow exogenous progesterone is supposed to be OK. (I'm cool with natural progesterone being better than progestins, but still wonder about the whole hormone replacement thing - and progesterone treatment is hormone replacement.)

All the "information" I can find keeps going back to the same source - which is selling the product. I would love to know if you have any good sources of information about this. My natural tendency is to say that messing with hormones is rarely a good idea - but since ending night sweats etc would be a GREAT idea, I'd like to hear what you have found out.

Thanks,
Betsy

vinny3's picture
vinny3
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

You may want to do a genetic check too because of your age. I think the risk of cancer is greater than the risk of osteoporosis. You can help lessen the chance of osteoporosis by taking calcium and getting some regular exercise including some for the muscles and upper body. KathiM's suggestion of periodically following with DEXA scans to check the bone density is a good one. If your bone density is showing a significant decrease you can take meds like Actonel or by the time you need it there may be something better.

Dick

markatger's picture
markatger
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

Hello!

I am 35 and making the same decision as you. In early menopause likely from radiation for rectal cancer. My gyno wants me to do HRT. She is a little perturbed actually that I haven't started on it yet ( I haven't had my period for over a year). She tells me that women my age are supposed to have estrogen which is very different from older women who take HRT after they naturally go through menopause. That is who that Women's health Initiative study was on - older women who shouldn't naturally have estrogen but are taking HRT. It is in that category that there was increased breast cancer.

I'm still nervous about it though. My naturopath doesn't think it is urgent to get on HRT. I don't have hot flashes so it would be for bone AND heart health (and I think there is some brain health issues as well).

I tried starting it a few months ago and felt a tender lump in my breast. Had the whole workup of mammography and ultrasound. They aren't sure what it was - possibly unharmful changes cause by the HRT or maybe i just injured myself and didn't remember it.

Sorry...I'm probably not helping ... I'm really struggling with what to do. Oh...I think it might be a good idea to get a baseline bone density test done. I have and then I plan on retesting after a year to see how I'm doing. I think most bone loss occurs within the first couple years of menopause. But the loss can be reversed with medication. That is also something I've considered - taking something like Fosamax which is can help prevent bone loss. But I'm also a little worried about the rest of my body.

This website has lots of info and a forum to ask questions:

http://www.earlymenopause.com/index.htm

Forum -

http://www.earlymenopause.com/boards/index.php?s=09da3bb7ba7d1d4804701430394fc496

Please e-mail me directly through this board if you would like to discuss this more.

Best wishes,
Maria

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