Since, according to your July 23 article by Shari Roan ["Hormones: Is Age the Key?"] I qualify as a member of the group of women who should not take hormones, I could not help but be annoyed, once again.
These "studies" are reminiscent of the caffeine studies whereby every few years there are a different set of standards and results.
My mother did not take replacement hormones and had a silent heart attack and Alzheimer's. There was no description in the article of the women who did indeed suffer strokes, heart attacks or breast cancer. What was their general health status?
There are women who look half dead at 50 with obesity, lack of general health principles, who never exercise and may smoke, while others may be in excellent health.
I find all of this very frustrating, so I'll just have my cup of coffee after I put on my estradiol patch.
Amelia C. Warwick, R.N., M.N.
I appreciated the long article trying to sort out the pros and cons of taking estrogen for hot flashes, but nowhere do I see any reference to the highly uncomfortable adrenaline surges that immediately precede each hot flash -- at least for me.
They start in the pit of the stomach, surge down the legs to the feet and are equivalent in strength to seeing your kid on the edge of a cliff or dashing out into the road in front of a car.
I always assumed that the heat and flush was in response to the adrenaline rush, but nobody else seems to talk about it.
Yet another article on HRT that spends time detailing the perils of hormone replacement but never says what exactly the "moderate to severe menopausal symptoms" are that drive women to risk breast cancer, stroke and other severe problems.
Then a whole article on hot flashes as if breaking a sweat was the height of going through the change.
For heaven sake, if night sweats and having to take my shoes off because my feet are on fire were the worst of it, I'd never have considered HRT with my family's history of breast cancer.
But let me tell you, the inability to think, short-term memory loss and emotional zigzags that included panic attacks so bad that I had to walk away from teaching were enough to make me take the HRT risk.
No one talks about the mental toll of menopause. Maybe that is because it reeks of psychology rather than physiology, and women are tired of being labeled as too emotional.
But when I talk to other women it's the mental fog, notes-to-self written and pinned to bras or medicine cabinets, new kinds of meditation and what we are taking for creeping depression (despite lives that look powerful and fulfilled) that we talk about.
That's the reality of menopause. It's bigger than feeling hot and a whole lot more confusing than just deciding if you might get cancer.
So kudos for doing an article on hormones, but hot flashes are only the tip of the iceberg.
In my 70s, after the adverse publicity about the bad effects of estrogen (which I had been taking since I was 45), I decided to stop taking it.
Shortly thereafter I experienced such excruciating backaches that I had to use a walker. I went to a chiropractor, a bone doc, an acupuncture doc and even had an MRI, all to no avail. Upon checking my recent activities at that time, I decided it could be the absence of the estrogen pills.
So I started taking them again and my backache vanished.
I am still taking estrogen and I am 89 years old.
I often read articles about HRT and I find they seldom mention the risk of blood clots.
Fifteen years ago, when I couldn't stand the hot flashes, the doctor prescribed HRT and discussed the risks of breast cancer and heart disease, but never mentioned blood clots.
Within two weeks of starting HRT, I landed in the hospital with phlebitis and was there for two weeks. Because of weakened valves, I still wear a compression stocking every day.
I learned to live with hot flashes with cool cloths and showers, but I have to admit that I am happy they are now a thing of the past.
Doctors should warn women of the danger of clots and what to watch for.