Sunday, June 19, 2005

More Harm Than Good

If you're not convinced yet that synthetic, mainstream hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is more trouble than it's worth, then here's yet another reason: Researchers have found that hormone pills seem to worsen urinary incontinence, especially the leakage brought on by sneezing, laughing, coughing, or walking. Women on HRT have more than double the risk of developing this particular type of incontinence, the study concluded, and the risk was especially acute for those taking pills containing estrogen alone as opposed to the combination pill of estrogen and progestin. Those taking estrogen-only pills had a 53 percent greater chance of developing any type of incontinence by the end of one year than women who were given a placebo. Women given pills containing both hormones experienced a 39 percent increase in risk. For those who were already experiencing problems with urinary incontinence, hormones were found to make it worse. Those taking estrogen faced a nearly 60 percent higher risk of worsening symptoms over the course of a year; women given a combination pill saw their risk climb 20 percent higher than those taking a placebo. The findings come from the same government study that over the past few years have linked the supplements to a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and dementia in women taking them to relieve symptoms of menopause. The study followed 27,347 women, ages 50 to 79, as part of the Women's Health Initiative. This latest finding is particularly startling because it completely contradicted what all of the "experts" thought was true: that estrogen and progestin actually lessened or prevented incontinence in menopausal women. This is just one more reason to opt for bio-identical HRT instead of the synthetic, problem-laden variety. If you'd like to look into this option, you might want to refer to Dr. Wright's book "Natural Hormone Replacement for Women over 45" (available in most bookstores and from amazon.com).

What is....urinary incontinence? Urinary incontinence is a disorder that affects primarily older people, particularly women. It occurs when the the efficiency of the muscles surrounding the urethra declines. There are many different forms of the disorder: stress incontinence, brought on by laughing, sneezing or heavy lifting; urge incontinence which is frequently triggered by a sudden change in position; total incontinence, which is a complete lack of bladder control; and overflow incontinence, a condition where the person is unable to empty the bladder normally, often because of an obstruction.

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