by Linda Franklin – The Real Cougar Woman
Hormone Replacement Therapy is a subject fraught with high levels of controversy. Some doctors recommend it to their patients, while others are advising women to steer clear. This cross current of information is confusing and leaves women wondering what to do. And, now that women are entering menopause earlier, some as early as 35, it's often misdiagnosed. (Read this article By Dr. Jennifer Landa).
When women start to lose estrogen their bodies are more susceptible to many health risks. There is no shortage of articles on the perils of Hormone Replacement but we rarely see research that points out the benefits of replacing our estrogen supply.
I am a firm believer in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement and have been on a doctor supervised protocol or over 10 years. For me it's been terrific and I see lots of benefits – good skin, hair, health, energy, sex drive. My doctor and I have discussed how estrogen replacement can really help our brains, but now new research is collaborating that important information.
According to a study conduced by the National Academy of Sciences, prolonged estrogen deprivation in aging rats dramatically reduces the number of brain receptors, but, the damage is forestalled if estrogen replacement begins shortly after hormone levels drop, "This is further evidence of a critical window for estrogen therapy, either right before or right after menopause," said Dr. Darrell W. Brann, Chief of GHSU's Developmental Neurobiology Program and the study's corresponding author.
The surprising results of the much-publicized Women's Health Initiative — a 12-year study of 161,808 women ages 50-79 — found hormone therapy generally increased rather than decreased stroke risk as well as other health problems. Critics said one problem with the study was that many of the women, like Brann's aged rats, had gone years without hormone replacement, bolstering the case that timing is everything.
Collaborators include scientists at Hebei United University in China and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio. Dr. Quan-guang Zhang, Research Scientist in Brann's lab, is the study's first author. Aged rats were obtained from the National Institute on Aging and studies were funded by the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association.