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Risks & Benefits of Hormones in Menopause

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Risks & Benefits of Hormones in Menopause

If you’re struggling with menopausal symptoms, you may be grasping for anything that will help you get your mojo back. And chances are, you’ll at least consider taking hormones if your menopausal symptoms are severe enough.

I outlined my natural recommendations for treatment of menopausal symptoms here. But what about hormones? What’s the real skinny?

Back when I was training, we were putting everybody and her great-grandmother on hormones. 90-year-old ladies who had just had a heart attack? Here, take Premarin! 80-year-olds with osteoporosis? How ‘bout some estrogen, hon?! 55-year-olds who had sailed through menopause with ease? Why not take Prempro to protect yourself?

Now we know better. Not only are hormones not cardiac protective the way we once thought — they can actually increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

So why would a woman take hormones?

Because they can make a menopausal woman feel great. Hormones can relieve and improve:

  • Insomnia
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Brain fog
  • Bladder control problems
  • Pain or burning during intercourse
  • Osteoporosis
  • Skin changes associated with menopause
  • Helps protect against colon cancer

These are good things, right? So why doesn’t everyone take hormones the way they did back when I was in medical school? Because of the landmark Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study that was terminated prematurely in 2002 when early statistical calculations demonstrated higher death rates in the cohort of women who were taking hormones. Yikes, Batman!

Ever since then, patients and doctors alike have been confused. The data is fuzzy and the truth is hard to sort out, but I’ll try to lay it out for you, ladies.

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Read more: Alternative Therapies, Guidance, Health, Menopause, Natural Remedies, Self-Help, Women's Health, , , , , , , ,

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
12:57PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

I appreciate the great info. Thank you!!

5:16PM PST on Jan 29, 2013

Thanks for the info Lissa

4:39AM PDT on Sep 17, 2012


7:32PM PDT on May 6, 2012

thank you!!

8:53PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

good info & suggestions in all articles, thank you for sharing.

9:51PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011


8:45PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

Good one, thanks!

4:19PM PDT on May 22, 2011


11:46PM PDT on May 15, 2011

Thanks for sharing:)

7:09PM PDT on May 8, 2011

noted thx

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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