New types of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Doctors now prescribing creams, patches

ORLANDO, Fla. - Memory loss, fatigue, a ringing in the ears -- probably not what you're used to hearing when women talk about menopause.

But those symptoms, and many more, are exactly what a growing number of women must deal with.

The documentary, Hot Flash Havoc, which is now online and on DVD, touches on a subject that has been taboo for too long.

The film's executive producer calls it a crash course for couples and she hopes that by entertaining viewers, she'll educate millions of women around the world.

For women like Maria Venero, menopause was no laughing matter, and she was hesitant to use Hormone Replacement Therapy.

"I heard a lot of stories," says Venero. "Put it off, tried a few things. Natural stuff didn't work."

Maria's concern stemmed from the large-scale Women's Health Initiative study, which was released in 2002.

It warned of an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease for women using HRT. But critics now point out that both risks increase with age regardless of Hormone Replacement Therapy use.

Unsure of what to do, Maria turned to midwife Karen Bosia for guidance, and found reassurance.

Bosia says the idea that HRT is dangerous is based on that decade-old study, which only looked at Premarin and Prempro -- both prescriptions created from the urine of pregnant horses.

"The synthetics are chemically produced and they're not exactly the same as what your body produces," says Bosia.

She and many other doctors now often prescribe creams and patches, which better mimic the human body. Those creams and patches are called bioidentical hormones.

"A bioidentical is taken from the yam plant and it's structured just like the estrodial and progestin we produce in our body," says Bosia.

But she cautions that until significant scientific studies are actually done on bioidential hormones, the decision over whether or not to consider HRT is between a woman and her doctor.

For Maria Venero, Hormone Replacement Therapy has made a world of difference.

"My mood changed, my energy level, my depression, it started moving away," says Venero.

Be sure to ask your doctor about filling the prescription in topical form -- such as a cream or patch -- as it reduces the risk of liver problems, which are often associated with pills.

For a list of FDA approve bioidentical hormone therapies, click here.

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