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Hormone Therapy for Menopause Linked to Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 18, 2015 – Hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms may raise the risk a bit for serious lower intestinal bleeding, a new study suggests. In the 1990s, millions of American women turned to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help ease the symptoms of menopause. But the results of a landmark study called the Women's Health Initiative, released in 2002, found that long-term use of the therapy increased women's risk for breast cancer, as well as their risk for heart attacks and strokes. Use of the regimen fell dramatically soon after. Now researchers say HRT's propensity for clotting, linked to heart attacks and strokes, may also lead to bleeding in the lower intestine. "HRT is an effective treatment, but it does come with risks," said lead researcher Dr. Prashant Singh of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Singh said the risk of any one woman ... Read more

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Many Women Unaware of Female-Specific Stroke Symptoms

Posted 7 May 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 6, 2015 – Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women, but many are unaware of warning signs and symptoms that are unique to females, a new study says. Of 1,000 women surveyed, only one in 10 was aware that hiccups that occur with unusual chest pain is an early warning sign of stroke in women, said researchers from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in Columbus. Although men and women share some risk factors for stroke – such as smoking, being sedentary and having high blood pressure – others are specific to women, the researchers explained. But only 11 percent of women polled knew that pregnancy, lupus, migraine headaches, birth-control pills and hormone replacement therapy increase their stroke risk, the study found. "I think we have a ways to go when it comes to educating women about stroke and their unique risk factors," Dr. Diana Greene-Chandos, ... Read more

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FDA Should Stop Sales of Essure Contraceptive Implant: Petition

Posted 5 May 2015 by Drugs.com

Bayer's contraceptive implant Essure can cause serious complications and should be taken off the market, says a citizen's petition filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA approved Essure about 13 years ago after a review process that was fast-tracked because the device was the first alternative to surgical sterilization for women who did not want more children and offered patients a quick recovery, The New York Times reported. Essure is a metal and polyester coil implanted in a woman's fallopian tubes to make her permanently sterile. The procedure can be done in a doctors' office in just 10 minutes. However, since approving Essure, the FDA has received more than 4,000 reports of serious complications, including severe back and pelvic pain, coils that pierced the fallopian tubes and lodged in other organs, and heavy prolonged menstrual periods, The Times reported. ... Read more

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Transgender People Do Not Face Higher Breast Cancer Risk, Study Shows

Posted 11 Mar 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 11, 2015 – While some may worry about the long-term health effects of hormonal therapy on transgender people, a new study finds no higher risk of breast cancer in this group than in the general population. Reporting in the journal LGBT Health, the analysis of U.S. veterans' medical records from 1998 to 2013 identified 10 cases of breast cancer in transgender people, according to study author Dr. George Brown, of Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City, Tenn. The breast cancers tended to be more advanced in people who were born as male and transitioned to female, compared to those who were born female and transitioned to male. Overall, however, transgender people appear to be at no higher odds for developing breast cancer. Speaking in a journal news release, Brown said that when groups of transgender and transsexual people are tracked over time, this has "not ... Read more

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More Evidence That Hormone Therapy Might Not Help Women's Hearts

Posted 10 Mar 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, March 10, 2015 – There's yet another study looking at the potential dangers of hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms, and this one supports the notion that the treatment may not help women's hearts. The research, a review of collected data on the issue, found that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not protect most postmenopausal women against heart disease and may even increase their risk of stroke. Also, the findings suggest that the harms and benefits of hormone therapy may vary depending on woman's age when she started the therapy, explained study lead author Dr. Henry Boardman, of the cardiovascular medicine department at the University of Oxford in England. "This 'Timing Hypothesis' may be the critical key to the use of HRT," agreed one expert, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "For ... Read more

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New Study Casts Doubt on Dangers of Hormone Therapy for Hot Flashes

Posted 8 Mar 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 6, 2015 – Hormone replacement therapy for women may not be as potentially risky as previously thought, a new Mayo Clinic review contends. The new study, which evaluated three decades of prior research, concluded that hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause doesn't increase overall risk of death or the risk of death from heart attack, stroke or cancer. "This is the latest update of the current evidence," said lead author Dr. Khalid Benkhadra, a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "I can say there's no risk of dying from any reason because a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy." The results, Benkhadra said, should allay concerns of some women with debilitating menopausal symptoms who have feared taking hormones. But not everyone is sold on the safety of hormone therapy. Heart and cancer doctors who reviewed the new findings said that ... Read more

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Use of Long-Acting Birth Control Rises Fivefold in a Decade: CDC

Posted 24 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2015 – The use of long-acting birth control methods such as IUDs or under-the-skin implants jumped fivefold between 2002 and 2011, according to a new U.S. government report. Among U.S. women aged 15 to 44, the use of these long-term but reversible contraceptives rose from 1.5 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2011-2013, says the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers from the agency's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) believe that these methods are gaining in popularity because of their proven ability to prevent unintended pregnancies. An easing of concerns about safety may be playing a role, too. IUDs (intrauterine devices) were commonly used by women in the 1970s, until safety issues led to a decline in their use. However, since then, IUDs have improved in quality, experts say. Also, over the past 20 years, ... Read more

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Study Ties Hormone Therapy to Increased Ovarian Cancer Risk

Posted 12 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 12, 2015 – Women who use hormone therapy after menopause – even for just a few years – may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer, according to new research. The new study found that when women used hormone replacement therapy for less than five years after menopause, the risk of ovarian cancer increased by about 40 percent. "We have evidence, proof, that there is a small but real excess risk of cancer of the ovaries with hormone therapy use," said study researcher Sir Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford, in England. Peto said the increased risk was significant from a statistical standpoint but emphasized that the risk is a small one. It would mean that for women who take hormone therapy for five years from around age 50, one extra ovarian cancer diagnosis for every 1,000 users would be expected, and one extra ... Read more

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IUDs, Contraceptive Implants Work Longer Than Thought, Researchers Report

Posted 5 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2015 – Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants appear to prevent pregnancy one year beyond their approved length of use, according to early results from an ongoing study. Researchers are assessing whether these long-acting forms of birth control may be effective up to three years after their approved length of use. Hormonal IUDs are currently approved for five years and contraceptive implants – small rods inserted into the arm – are currently approved for three years. Both types of contraception were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The study, by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, will eventually enroll a total of 800 women. These preliminary results were from 263 women who used the hormonal IUD Mirena and 237 women who used the contraceptive implants Implanon and Nexplanon. The women ... Read more

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Better Contraceptive Knowledge Can Aid in Safe Use of Acne Drug: Study

Posted 5 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 – Researchers say giving birth control information to women visiting dermatology clinics can help promote the safe use of the drug isotretinoin, an acne medication known to cause birth defects. Isotretinion was originally sold under the brand name Accutane. That particular brand has been discontinued, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the drug is still available under other brand names, including Absorica, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan, Sotret and Zenatane. The FDA requires women of childbearing age to sign a pledge that they will use two forms of contraception when taking isotretinoin because the medication is known to cause birth defects. The study included 100 female patients from one dermatology clinic. Their average age was about 27, and nearly two-thirds had a college education. Their knowledge about eight methods of birth ... Read more

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Modern Birth Control Methods Could Avoid 15 Million Unwanted Pregnancies: Report

Posted 4 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 – If more women had access to modern birth control methods and used them correctly, there would be 15 million fewer unwanted pregnancies in low- and middle-income nations each year, a new study suggests. For women in these countries, unwanted pregnancies can have serious consequences, including death, disease, disability and fewer educational and job opportunities, the researchers noted. Also, many unwanted pregnancies end in abortion. Researchers looked at birth control use by women between the ages of 15 and 49, in 35 countries, between 2005 and 2012. Birth control was defined as modern or traditional. Modern methods included condoms, intrauterine devices, oral and injectable contraceptives, implants, sterilization and breast feeding. Traditional methods included withdrawal and trying to time intercourse when women weren't fertile. The risk of unwanted ... Read more

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Use of 'the Pill' Tied to Higher Risk for Rare Brain Cancer

Posted 22 Jan 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 2015 – The risk for developing a rare form of brain cancer known as glioma appears to go up with long-term use of hormonal contraceptives such as the Pill, new Danish research suggests. Women under 50 with a glioma "were 90 percent more likely to have been using hormonal contraceptives for five years or more, compared with women from the general population with no history of brain tumor," said study leader Dr. David Gaist. However, the Danish study couldn't prove cause-and-effect, and Gaist stressed that the findings "need to be put in context" for women because "glioma is very rare." How rare? Only five out of every 100,000 Danish women between the ages of 15 and 49 develop the condition each year, according to Gaist, a professor of neurology at Odense University Hospital. He said that figure includes women who take contraceptives such as the birth control pill. So, ... Read more

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The Pill Remains Most Common Method of Birth Control, U.S. Report Shows

Posted 11 Dec 2014 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 11, 2014 – The pill remains one of the most popular methods of birth control for women, along with female sterilization and condoms, a new report shows. Among the two-thirds of women aged 15 to 44 who used birth control between 2011 and 2013, approximately 16 percent used the pill. Female sterilization, where women have their fallopian tubes closed or blocked, was used by 15.5 percent of women, while 9.4 percent used male condoms, according to the report published Dec. 11 by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). But intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, both types of long-acting reversible contraceptives, are close on the heels of these other forms of birth control, with 7.2 percent of women using them. "Use of long-acting reversible contraceptives is becoming more popular," said report author Kimberly Daniels, of the NCHS. Their use has nearly ... Read more

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Some Birth Control Pills May Up Breast Cancer Risk

Posted 1 Aug 2014 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 31, 2014 – Birth control pills containing high doses of estrogen, along with some other formulations, may increase the risk of breast cancer in women under 50, new preliminary research suggests. "There are numerous oral contraceptive formulations," explained lead researcher Elisabeth Beaber, a staff scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. "Some of these formulations increase breast cancer risk while other formulations do not raise risk." Overall, birth control pill use within the past year was associated with a 50 percent increased risk of breast cancer risk compared with former use or no use of birth control pills, Beaber found. This study was designed to find a possible link between oral contraceptive use and breast cancer risk in younger women. But, it wasn't designed to prove that birth control pills definitively cause the increased risk. ... Read more

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Stroke Prevention for Women: Start Early

Posted 17 Jun 2014 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 17, 2014 – Stroke typically affects women in their later years, but doctors are now beginning to focus on helping them cut their risk earlier in life. This increased attention to risk factors in early adult years was recommended by new guidelines that were released earlier this year by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. Those guidelines are now being phased into practice by primary care doctors, experts say. For women, that translates to more screening for risk factors during office visits and more interventions to ensure a healthy lifestyle to reduce stroke risk, said Dr. Louise McCullough, director of the Stroke Center at the University of Connecticut in Farmington. McCullough is the co-author of a summary of the guidelines that was published June 16 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Stroke is a serious interruption or reduction of ... Read more

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