Study On Hormone Replacement Therapy Flawed

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Mikie, Jul 6, 2003.

  1. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Something about all this hoopla over HRT has been bothering me, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I just realized what it is. Every participant in this longitudinal study is a nurse!

    Nurses are exposed to viruses, fungi, and bacteria at a rate which is exponentially higher than women in other fields. In one outbreak of CFIDS, half of the patients were nurses. Another ten percent were non-medical personnel working in healthcare environs.

    We now know that there can be a viral connection in some types of cancers, heart disease, and possibly dimentia. We also know that chronic infections cause hypercoagulation which restricts blood flow in the body. This could potentially add to the risk of strokes.

    I have decided to continue my very low dose of estradiol and my progestin. Without them, I feel horrible and cannot get restorative sleep due to night sweats. Each of us has to make our own decisions about this, but this study has not convinced me to give up my HRT.

    There is every possibility that the studies are reflecting the true dangers of HRT, but by using only nurses, this study is too flawed to be considered as persuasive as the medical community and media have led us to believe.

    Love, Mikie

  2. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Before this rolls over.

    Love, Mikie
  3. elaine_p

    elaine_p New Member

    One would hope that the people doing studies would be precise so their results are accurate. Maybe they just didn't think. (Can you spell D-U-H?) Another thing is now the journalists reporting on it overlook the fact that they were all nurses cause they figure it's not important. (To be fair, maybe I heard it and just dimissed it myself.)

    Of course, they wouldn't necessarily consider the stealth angle because I think it's too new. But maybe it's not new and they're just getting out in the public now.

    I'll stop before my soapbox gets any higher....
  4. tansy

    tansy New Member

    The results of this study were published in the UK too. I seem to remember some flaws being pointed out but not the one you mentioned.

    Sure it had something to do with higher doses than most doctors in the UK like to prescribe. Here the preference is for low dose hrt to be given for a couple of years only.

    You're right we each have to choose what's right for us, and sometimes this involves trial and error.


  5. ssMarilyn

    ssMarilyn New Member

    I think what we have to do is follow our gut instincts. Mine have never failed me or done me wrong, and they continue to tell me that it's not a good idea to put any man-made chemical or drug into my body. I have to use Synthroid, I have no choice, but when it comes to HRT, I do have a choice, and I'd rather handle it the natural way by cutting out all processed foods. Since I've done that, (May 9th) my flashes stopped dead and I haven't had any since. I used to have approx. 3 an hour, 24 hours a day. You couldn't pay me enough to take HRT.

    Marilyn :)
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Is that NURSES who were on HRT had increased incidence of some illnesses. As you said, the stealth infection angle is rather new, but even so, to design a study which is supposed to reflect the effects on women, it is necessary to use women who more accurately reflect the population at large.

    Hospitals use all kinds of chemicals, and mercury exposure from broken thermometers and BP instruments is fairly high. Nurses are exposed to all kinds of things which could be hazardous to health.

    We are starting to realize that hormones probably play a big part in our illnesses too. It is possible that a combination of hormones AND infections can cause the rise of incidence of these other diseases.

    Statistics are used in a scary way in the media reports. They say things like, "HRT doubles the rise of cancer of whatever." This may mean that six instead of three people out of 100,000 will get this cancer. We need the full info in order to make informed decisions.

    It may turn out that the study is accurate, like I said, but it would have been much, much better to have used a more diverse population. It amazes me that what wouldn't cut it as a bona-fide study in a college course is considered solid science and gets millions of dollars in funding.

    Everything today is sensationalized to the point that we can believe nothing we read, hear, or see on the news.

    Love, Mikie
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I can understand where you are coming from. I swore for years that I would not use HRT, but when I could no longer sleep, I decided that my health would deteriorate further without the HRT. This was before I was diagnosed but was sick and was just getting more and more fatigued. As you know, I don't eat the processed foods either, so that doesn't play into my decision. I just plain can't sleep without the HRT. I also take Synthroid and it has helped me quite a bit.

    As I have said, it's an individual choice and after considering our own individual circumstances, we have made different decisions. The best decision is one which is best for you based on the best info available at the time.

    My concern is that the info we are receiving is flawed and being used in a sensational way. You are not taking any chances and that certainly is a wise decision. I am with the HRT where you are with the Synthroid. I've weighed the risks and decided to take my chances with it.

    My hope is that we are given accurate info by the medical and scientific communities as well as the media, but I guess that's too much to ask for.

    Love, Mikie
  8. Lynda B.

    Lynda B. New Member

    I hit some hormone problems at 37 and now have early menopause. But, I see a menopause specialist because of this and other reasons. She told me that the study was flaws for several reasons. Both my GYN and Menopause Specialist are fine with using natural substitutes instead of prescription. In my case, I was too young and they are no idea how long I had beed completely without estradial.

    Anyway, the MS said that the study was geared towards women who were more in their 60's and had already gone through menopause and were finshed and done. It did not include women in their 40's and 50's who were in the process which is an important time to deal with symptoms.

    She held in high esteem among her peers and is well-known in the central Texas area and very bright. I assume she knows what she is talking about. She told me since my period completely stopped about 1 1/2 years ago that I should stay on low dose HRT. My risks of various disease and cancer are much higher without HRT in my particular case.

    I have many female friends who swore they would only use natural substances when menopause came around but because they could not sleep (like Mikie) or were so hot or another symptom, they did go to HRT.

    I think so much depends on each of our individual bodies and how we each respond to peri-menopause or menopause.

    Just my trivia.

    Lynda B.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/06/2003]
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I appreciate your weighing in on this one.

    More and more, it seems, we must do our own reading, researching, thinking, printing out material, and looking for docs who are knowledgeable and caring. That is the only way we can make these important decisions.

    One of the few silver linings for those of us with these illnesses is that I believe we tend to be better health care consumers. We have to be.

    People who are not sick take everything for granted and probably depend more on what they hear through the media. This is most likely where the damage of sensationalism takes place.

    At least, most of us make well-informed decisions about our health. I love having this board to come to in order to ask questions, bounce ideas off of our members, and learn from others' research. This place has been a God send to me.

    Love, Mikie
  10. dojomo

    dojomo New Member

    ANY medical study using nurses IS flawed... for all the reasons you stated.

    Best to LISTEN to your body and your inner voice....I stopped believing most medical studies. I think they're mostly flawed and bias.
    Whatever improves your health is what you should do..........DJ
  11. lucky

    lucky New Member

    I also have been on HRT for many years, although only on the estradiol patch because I had a complete hysterectomy. I cannot imagine to be without this hormone and I would probably be totally fatigued and have many more problems (high blood pressure, etc.).
    I have read so many studies and have come to the same conclusion that they are not very persuasive and only have women even more confused.
    Also I know quite a few women who went off their HRT but could not handle the many menopausal symptoms (some of them depression) that they decided to be put on it again.
    I wish Marilyn luck with controlling her menopause with foods, etc., but unfortunately this does not do the trick for many of us.
    Again, it is our decision to make the proper choice.
    Kind regards, Lucky
  12. pearls

    pearls New Member

    I had been impressed with the nurses' study because of the large numbers of women and long time involved in it, but had never given a thought to the now obvious flaw (Thanks, Mikie) of using only nurses! I had been reading about this for some time and had quit ERT about a year ago because of the negative news coming in at that time, and I believe it was just before the big announcement. I had to stand up to my gynecologist to do it, too.

    However, I really can't tell if being off ERT is right for me because I don't know if I was on the right doseage before I quit. FMS and CFS were comparatively new to me at the time, and some my problems with heat, cold, and so forth may actually have been FMS, CFS, hormones, or God knows what. I take a stew of medications so it is very difficult to know. Besides, FMS and CFS have their cycles that drive all of us crazy. With me, temperature problems come and go along with other FMS problems, so it is difficult to pinpoint anything.

    Anyway, for some of us taking HRT may be comparable with taking narcotics. We'd rather not, but quality of life is also a valid choice. If the quality of our lives is so poor that one achieves a world of difference with the use of narcotics or HRT, then either or both may be a good choice for those of us who choose them.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/06/2003]
  13. shazz

    shazz New Member

    I started hot flashing at 41, at that time they confirmed menopause by blood tests, had a hysterectomy at 46 and will be 47 very shortly.
    I figured after 5 years it would be over with, but NO way will I do without my estrogen.
    I have to have some quality of life, and trust me without it I am a raging lunatic, and more miserable than you can imagine. I am with Mikie, the night sweats are awful and interfere terribly with sleep.
    I think we need to ignore these studies for the most part and do what we feel best with. Having FM or CFS is bad enough without having all those other symptoms to deal with too. I always suspected these "studies" were lacking somehting and I am glad Mikie brought this up.

  14. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    It is a slow process, usually starting in one's 30's with perimenopause and often lasting well into the 50's or even 60's. My cousin had menses until she was 60. I just stopped having mine about 1 1/2 years ago and I am 59. It is very difficult for one who has had a hysterectomy to determine when she is in menopause. Symptoms are one's best guage.

    Someone here, Madwolf was it you?, said we may be suffering from a lack or progesterone. Those who have had hysterectomies do not take it because they do not need the protection from uterine cancer. If we suffer lack of progesterone, should those who have had hysterectomies also take the progesterone?

    Personally, I think human growth hormone is very important in regulating the rest of our hormones. When I started taking the stimulant, my periods started again, and I had to cut back on the estrogen. All our hormones seem to be dependent on each other. Each thing we do seems to help everything else.

    There are no right or wrong decisions, just the best decisions we can make with the knowledge we possess. Knowledge is power, but unfortunately, it is difficult to depend on research. We need to listen to our own bodies as they contain a lot of wisdom.

    Thanks everyone for this very stimulating discussion. I really think these kinds of discussions help us to ferret out info and to hear different points of view. Madwolf, as always, than you for your professional help.

    Love, Mikie
  15. horsegal

    horsegal New Member

    Seems I repeat myself...My blood tests didn't show much, but I was having those terrible hot flashes all day long and soaking my sheets at night. I just asked my doctor to put me on it and I asked for a specific brand as my sister had already been through trying different meds and types of HRT. I take the combination pill that has both estrogen and progesterin. The hot flashes are under control and I sincerely believe that HRT helped the whole picture of my FM, as I started feeling better after one month of taking it. That whole issues of "studies" made me less likely to believe such studies. One month they (medical community)were touting the benefits of HRT---how it had many benefits....the next month ...horror of was now no longer beneficial, but could have serious health consequences. I've made my decision, and I'm stickin' to it! Again, to each his own!

  16. Suzan

    Suzan New Member

    This study concerned me, as it did most women. But, I did decide a couple years ago to switch from Premarin,which is made from horse urine, to estradiol which is plant based, also generic and cheaper! I just felt better using something made from plants. I do not think I would survive at all well without some estrogen, so I live with the risks, and get my regular checkups.
  17. lucky

    lucky New Member

    I just like to share my own experiences during my past 25 yrs. after having a total hysterectomy.
    I have been on only estrogen therapy for a long time and was told by my doctor that I have to take it for life.
    First I was on Premarin which did not agree with me plus Provera which made me absolutely crazy, until I changed doctors and found out that with a total hysterectomy you only need the estrogen. Also it is the combination of the estrogen and provera which seems to be the problem for some cancers.
    But when I was diagnosed with CFS 15 yrs. ago, I switched to an estradiol 100 patch, where the estrogen is absorbed through the skin into the blood which is a lot healthier than any pill going through liver/gallbladder/stomach, etc. I know that without it I would have many more unwelcome problems with CFS.
    I also believe that HRT rather prevents illnesses than add to them as one is lately reading and which confuses a lot of women.
    However, in the end, we have to decide what we feel comfortable with, but a life without my patch would be unthinkable.
    Kind regards, Lucky
  18. ssMarilyn

    ssMarilyn New Member

    I have a shelf full of books on perimenopause and menopause here, and they all say that same thing - if you don't go through menopause naturally, and you use some form of HRT, then when you do eventually discontinue the HRT, regardless of your age, your body still must go through the withdrawal process. You were giving it the HRT all these years, then took it away, so you will have the withdrawal symptoms. I even read that if you're 65 and quit HRT, you still go through withdrawal, so unless you plan on taking HRT for the rest of your life......

    I'm blessed in that I don't have any hot flashes...they may come back, who knows, but for now I'm doing fine and I'm only 51. I sleep fairly well too, but I really work at it using aromatherapy, hot bubble baths, and good tv shows, such as TVL and Nick at Nite. Yes, all of these things do work to help lots of us relax and sleep better. I'm an ace at it now, as I was desperate for sleep and was willing to do anything short of taking drugs.

    Marilyn :)
  19. klarry

    klarry New Member

    I am also one of the women affected by the recent news. I was placed on estradiol and progesterone (low dose which I took daily) about six years ago. When the first studies came out I resisted the urge to stop my medicine, first checking with several doctors to be sure I was making an intelligent decision. I am also taking a daily dose of Synthroid.
    The most recent finding concerning dementia finally got my attention, and about a month ago I quit cold turkey. It has caused my FM to flare, and I am getting hot flashes again, but I believe that each day I may be making some improvement. I have also found that without hormones my blood pressure has lowered. Although I have always had low blood pressure, on hormone I had a tendency to have elevated pressure, which I controlled with diet and exercise (after a short course of diuretics). Friends have confirmed my suspicions - when they went off HRT they saw lowered blood pressure, lowered cholesterol, and weight loss.
    My mother never took hormones, so I am taking comfort in the knowledge that she managed to live without them. This may not be a decision others want to make, but for me it feels like the right one.
  20. PrsJah

    PrsJah New Member

    for the use of taking HRT. I know I'm going to get a lot of heat for this but I feel most woman do not need HRT!!! Simply read the warnings (which is usually the last thing on the information sheet that comes with your pills or whatever and is real small print) that come with pills. Why do you think they are there? Read...look at the list and actaully read the warnings and side effects ladies. Micki....I am the pro-progesterone you were referring to earlier. Yes...I I know that a woman who has a hysterectomy needs progesterone too. She also does need estrogen. But she does need progesterone. The human body should be in a state of hormonal balance. if estrogen is too high the delicate hormonal dance is gone. That is where the night sweats come in, the hot flashes start! Your body is screaming something is off, fix it!!