Chancellor's Check-Up: Hormone Replacement Therapy - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/21/04

Chancellor's Check-Up: Hormone Replacement Therapy

A big decision lies ahead for many women following menopause. Is hormone replacement therapy necessary? Dr. David Smith says that hormone replacement therapy is effective in relieving menopausal symptoms in women, but there are still uncertainties and unknown health risks concerning long-term use.

It can't be avoided. All women will eventually have to go through menopause. Texas Tech Medical Center's Dr. Sezman Welt says the use of alternative medicines in hormone replacement therapy has become more of an interest to women as they get conflicting information about pharmaceutical predations.

"Some of the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings can be very debilitating to women. They are looking for unconventional sources of help at this time," explains Dr. Welt.

Women are turning to Black Cohosh and Vitamin E to prevent hot flashes, valerian root, and kava to prevent insomnia, and St. John's Wort for mood swings.

"We do not have enough scientific information to actually advise our patients about herbal medicines, so what we do is ask them to tell us about what they are using and we record as well as we can any side effects, any benefits in an understanding, and sympathetic manner," said Dr. Welt.

There is not sufficient proof to show whether these therapies are safe or safer than conventional drugs being used for menopausal symptoms.

In addition to some new exciting information relevant to women's heath, certain lifestyle changes can make all the difference, to include eating well and exercising regularly.

Dr. Smith adds that herbal information is widely available on the web. This information can be biased, so make sure you are using a credible medical source.

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