Once hailed as a miraculous panacea for menopausal symptoms and a potent cure for the ravages of time—in fact, a veritable fountain of youth for middle-aged women—Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has attracted a backlash of unfavorable reports in recent times.
It has come to light that not only are HRT drugs compromising the health of millions of women, but the drug manufacturers have been aware of the potentially lethal aspects of these medications for over five years.
The puberty-to-postmenopausal female population provides drug companies with a vast source of revenue that has proved to be a bonanza for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. Yet, in hiding the true implications of taking these medications, the corporations involved have acted not only unethically, but criminally. Millions of women taking HRT medication have unwittingly been exposed to substances which have been proven to cause conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Ironically, the benefits of plant-based phytoestrogens and progesterone, which are readily utilized by the body with no known side effects, have often been sidelined, being of no interest to the profit-driven pharmaceutical industry.
As early as 1947, warnings about the use of estrogen in the form of Premarin were being referred to by researchers at Columbia University as a form of “human experimentation”. At the time, increasing numbers of cases of cancerous and pre-cancerous changes to uterine tissue were presenting in surgeries across the country.
More recently, researchers at Oxford University found that there was a significant increase in the occurrence of heart disease among women who were on HRT programs. Drug companies were aware of these risks, yet did nothing to educate the public about the true nature of the medications they were supplying.
Another British study, as reported in The British Medical Journal, revealed that the use of hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of stroke by 30%. These results were obtained from a national trial involving 40,000 menopausal women and represent a statistically significant result.
A 2002 report conducted by the U.S. Women’s Health Initiative Study found a link between HRT and an increased risk of a number of health conditions, including breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, and an elevated incidence of potentially fatal blood clots.
Another double-blind HRT experiment was halted because it was noted that women who were receiving the HRT medication were contracting breast cancer at a rate greater than the control group. The trial was ceased for ethical reasons when researchers noted that the treatment resulted in the formation of new tumors in a significant proportion of the participants.
Clearly, synthetic hormone replacement medication poses a serious health risk which far outweighs any benefits that women may receive from taking these drugs. Greater public education, together with the use of natural alternatives to pharmaceutical products, means that women need no longer jeopardize their lives in order to alleviate the discomfort of menopausal symptoms.