There has been a lot of controversy over hormone therapy for menopause. But new research is pointing to a real benefit of using HRT for women with multiple sclerosis during pregnancy.
Studies show that women with ms notice that at the end of their second trimester the symptoms of their disease decrease dramatically. Coincidentally, that's a time during pregnancy when the hormone estriol naturally goes up.
John Rose, M.D., a neurologist at the University of Utah, says, "Toward the end of pregnancy, there could be as much as an 80 percent decline in the relapse risk. So that's very dramatic."
At the University of Utah and the Salt Lake Veterans' Hospital, human clinical trials have begun. They're testing a pure form of this hormone, shipped from Europe. In animal studies, estriol not only reduced ms lesions in the brain, but also showed signs of repairing the damaged insulation called myelin, which protects the nerves.
For now, the clinical trials are only for women. But researchers say that, at some point, they'll look to see if there is a hormone equivalent that could help men.