The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association features an article with more bad news about hormone replacement. In addition to all of the other false claims attached to estrogen and progestin treatment, women have been promised prevention of incontinence or lessening of urine leakage as a result of taking these hormones. As it turns out, the drugs make the problem worse, not better.
When compared to women who took a placebo, those on estrogen pills for one year were 53% more likely to develop urinary incontinence. For those taking combination pills with progestin, the increased risk was 39%.
The highest risks were for stress incontinence, which is urine leakage prompted by sneezing, laughing or coughing. Women on both estrogen and combination pills were almost twice as likely to develop stress incontinence as those taking placebo.
Women who experienced incontinence prior to starting hormone replacement therapy saw their conditions worsen significantly. There was a 60% increased risk for those women taking estrogen pills and a 20% increased risk for those taking combination HRT.
Susan Hendrix, a gynecologist at Wayne State University in Detroit said: We were hoping to find a gleam of hope for estrogen. She went on to say that the results were disappointing. The medical profession and the pharmaceutical companies keep hoping that something will bring back sales of these drugs, which have fallen significantly since 2002, when the bad news about them started being released to the public.
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals now offers a low-dose version of HRT you may have seen it advertised on television. A middle-aged woman talks about taking the lowest possible dosage of the hormones for shortest period of time. About 25% of the women who quit taking HRT after the announcements have started taking it again, in part because of this campaign. The ads, however, do not mention anything about the types of changes women need to make in their diets and lifestyles in order to relieve menopausal symptoms. And, most of the doctors these women are going to are not equipped to give such advice either.
As for how to deal with incontinence – it develops in response to several factors weak pelvic muscles and food intolerances are the most common. Although it can be treated with drugs and surgery, changes in diet and exercise, as well as behavioral therapy, work most of the time. In other words, just as with almost all health conditions, there are natural, effective options available. Choosing these options instead of drug treatment is safer and will result in overall improvement in health.