During the 1980s and 1990s, many studies began to suggest that hormone replacement
not only relieved symptoms of hormonal imbalance but also protected women against
cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, contrary to Seaman's book. In support of
Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones, the HERS study in 1998 found that women with
heart disease who used hormones had worse outcomes than those who did not take hormones.
"If you would replace a vitamin/mineral deficiency with a bioidentical vitamin/mineral,
then you should replace a hormone deficiency with a bioidentical hormone."
Sangeeta Pati, MD, Fellow of the American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Study
The back-and-forth battle about the safety of hormone replacement seemed to really
stick on the unsafe side as a result of the findings from the Women's Health
Initiative (WHI) study in 2002. This large study investigated the health effects
of the widely-used Prempro, which is made of conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) and
a progestin called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA/Provera).
Based on the results from the study, researchers estimated that among 10,000 women
taking Prempro for a year, compared to placebo, there would be:
- 7 more cases of coronary heart disease
- 18 more cases of blood clots
- 8 more cases of stroke
- 8 more cases of breast cancer
- 6 fewer cases of colon cancer
- 6 fewer cases of hip fracture
All in all, 97.5% of women on hormone treatment had no events in the WHI study,
but the increased risk for cardiovascular disease and breast cancer resulted in
millions of women stopping their hormone treatments.
What's Wrong With the WHI Study?