A study in the journal Menopause, as reported in the New York Times, concludes that in an ethnically diverse population, women with an early (under the age of 46) menopause, had about double the incidence of heart disease and stroke as those women with a later menopause. Although the researchers emphasize addressing risk factors of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, they are unable to clarify how the associated events (early menopause and cardiovascular disease) are related, whether they are both the result of a genetic factor, for instance, or whether one event causes the other. The observation led many physicians to prescribe HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for women until the Women’s Health Initiative study, released in 2004, revealed an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer, with no real benefit, when using drug industry HRT, which consists of non-human oral “estrogens” from horse urine and “progestins” (completely synthetic “analogues” of human progesterone).
The subject of HRT is complex but one thing is clear. Conventional physicians only know about industrial HRT as described above, while integrative physicians would never have considered using such hazardous interventions. Integrative physicians rely on biologically equivalent (bio-identical) hormone therapy for HRT in menopause and expect both symptom relief as well as reduced chronic disease, for those diseases that are associated with low hormone levels, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.