Vail health column: Should women fear hormones for menopause?
Angelina Jolie Pitt’s open discussion about her choices to lower her 87 percent risk of breast cancer and her 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer has been inspirational and helpful to many women. Jolie Pitt outlined her treatment strategies in two New York Times opinion pieces, “My Medical Choice” on May 14, 2013, and “Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery” on March 24, 2015.
Her decision for preventive removal of both breasts, both ovaries and both fallopian tubes was courageous and well informed. New York Times article “Experts Back Angelina Jolie Pitt in Choices for Cancer Prevention” also ran on March 24, 2015. Interested readers are encouraged to read these pieces.
In “Diary of a Surgery,” Jolie Pitt explains that removal of her ovaries “puts a women into forced menopause.” “I have a little clear patch that contains bio-identical estrogen. A progesterone (intrauterine device) was inserted in my uterus. It helps maintain a hormonal balance, but more important, it will help prevent uterine cancer.”
Should women fear using hormone-replacement therapy for menopause symptoms because it might cause cancer? Could it be that hormone replacement therapy for menopause might prevent cancer?
Fear is not the emotion that should guide these difficult decisions. As Jolie Pitt found, “it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.”
Jolie Pitt explains that her risk of breast cancer has been reduced to less than 5 percent and that she remains prone to cancer, yet she has chosen hormone replacement for menopause.
EVERY PATIENT IS DIFFERENT
During an interview with the United Kingdom’s Daily Telegraph on Nov. 22, 2015, Jolie Pitt said, “I actually love being in menopause.” To love being in menopause may require hormone replacement and hormonal balance. Jolie Pitt has chosen bio-identical estrogen. The specific type of estrogen and progesterone used for the treatment of menopause can be very important.
Jolie Pitt’s progesterone is administered by using an intrauterine device. The route of administration for hormone replacement is also important and needs to be carefully adjusted for each individual patient. There are many different ways to administer hormones, and these include pills, patches, troches, injections, pellets, lotions, creams, intrauterine devices and suppositories.
As reported by the New York Times, “Experts Back Angelina Jolie Pitt in Choices for Cancer Prevention” on March 24, 2015, “Dr. Jamie Bakkum-Gamez and other experts endorsed her decision to take hormone replacement therapy — an estrogen patch and a progesterone intrauterine device — to counteract symptoms of surgery-induced menopause.” Dr. Jamie Bakkum-Gamez is a gynecologic oncologist at the Mayo Clinic.
Women should not fear hormone-replacement treatment for menopause. In fact, hormone replacement during and after menopause may have significant health benefits.
It is true that much controversy, misunderstanding and uncertainty surround hormone replacement. As Jolie Pitt found, “knowledge is power.” That knowledge and power require seeking expert and specialized medical advice and treatment. Treatment details and specifics become the keys to unlock the mysteries that surround hormone replacement therapy.
For personal and specialized treatment for menopausal hormone replacement, contact a bio-identical hormone specialist, your best choice for precision and evidenced-based treatment.
Dr. Scott Brandt, of ThriveMD, practices leading edge regenerative medicine. He offers stem-cell treatments, bio-identical hormone replacement, intravenous nutrient therapies, medical diets and liposculpture. To find out how you can benefit from these treatments, contact ThriveMD at 970-766-8245 or visit http://www.thrivemdvail.com.