How long is too long? This is a question many women ask Dr Meyer when considering HRT.
The answer depends on many factors, including what age you start, what are the main reasons for starting, your general health and fitness, medical history and lifestyle.
For example, if you are 40 and need to have a hysterectomy for medical reasons, you will be thrown into early menopause and could experience the associated symptoms. However, it is likely that you will be prescribed estrogen only treatment because you won’t need the progestin for womb lining protection, thus reducing the already small risks associated with taking HRT for over 10 years. Furthermore, the preference now is to use either natural progesterone or localized low dose progestin such as the Mirena IUS ® as the companion to estrogen when the womb is present.
Once you reach 50, the inclination is to count 10 years from the date you start HRT. This is often quoted as the recommended length of time to be using HRT, as there has been some data that indicates a slight potential increase of breast cancer after 10 years. This is not written in stone, nor is the small amount of research conclusive.
It is important to point out that the life benefits of retaining estrogen in our bodies far outweigh reported risk factors. We need to maintain bone density to avoid injury and long-term mobility issues; increased collagen boosts our connective tissue and skin tone; strong mental and emotional capacity gives us better quality of life and, finally, a healthy cardio-vascular system is essential to pursuing an active and stress-busting lifestyle well into the next phase of our lives.
So, don’t get hung up on numbers, focus instead on using HRT to support your own natural health and fitness, physically, mentally and emotionally. If you have any concerns at all about how long is long enough, please contact Dr Meyer.