photo of women holding sign - breast cancer awareness theme

Menopause Relief For Breast Cancer Survivors - HRT And More

There is no across the board risk for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and breast cancer. Your medical history, type of HRT, age, stage of menopause, and hereditary risks should also be taken into consideration.1

Given the severity of breast cancer and HRT's controversial history, it’s understandable for women to be concerned. Nearly 20 years ago, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) led to widespread panic in the US and worldwide about the use of HRT. As a result, HRT essentially stopped.

Unfortunately, the WHI data was flawed.1 Additionally, the study was not completed.

Data has since challenged the WHI conclusions that HRT exposes women to higher risks of breast cancer, endometrial conditions and cardiac events.1 Research on cancer and chronic illnesses show that multiple factors contribute. Unilaterally blaming HRT was and is simplistic. However, support for HRT has not fully recovered.

Additionally, the study reviewed "traditional HRT" treatments with conjugated hormones and not bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bHRT).

This article is in no way meant to disregard women's fear or the seriousness of breast cancer. Second to lung cancer, breast cancer is the most deadly cancer among women in the US.2 Skin cancer is the most common cancer but not the most fatal. Women's highest risk for death is actually heart disease.3


Studies that overlooked the impact that personal medical history and types of HRT have on breast cancer risk resulted in a faulty broad stroke rejection of HRT ... Instead of dwelling on the past, let's focus on current facts and future hope.


Pink prescription bottle with green capsules

 

Peptide Hormones To Reduce Menopause Symptoms

HRT with sex hormones may be right for you but if not, peptide hormones, custom medications and natural remedies are available.

Hormonal imbalance can rob women of their sexual desire and create a downward spiral toward depression and worsening vaginal dryness. 

They say the brain is the most erogenous zone in the body. And that's exactly where many powerful treatments for menopause symptoms do their work.

Oxytocin is a brain chemical that affects neurotransmitters in the brain. It's central to the physical and emotional intensity that can make sex amazing. Oxytocin floods the body after orgasm and gets in your head when you're with someone romantically.4 Although oxytocin is naturally produced by the body, stress, depression and lack of sex inhibit production.4

photo of medication on table with hearts in background

 

Strong data back up the use of the peptide hormone oxytocin to elevate women's libido, ease anxiety,5 create a sense of trust5 and improve sexual gratification4 by way of stronger and more frequent orgasms. Oxytocin is one of the body's four hormones responsible for happiness.6

In clinical trials, women who used the peptide hormone bremelanotide (PT-141) reported their sexual enjoyment more than doubled!

Bremelanotide is FDA-approved under the brand name Vyleesi to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD). HSDD is characterized by low libido and/or little to no response to sexual activity. HSDD is not a prerequisite for a PT-141 Rx. Off-label use may increase sexual desire and enhance pleasure.

Like oxytocin, PT-141 acts on brain neurotransmitters. It's classified as an agonist of melanocortin receptors. This means it activates the receptors causing a response. Melanocortin receptors control sexual function among other physiologic actions.

What Menopause Treatments Can Breast Cancer Survivors Use?

Prescription hormone replacement therapy is a precise medical treatment that requires clinical experience, ongoing lab testing and personalized treatment. Look for a doctor who is trained in HRT and supports your health goals. 

Clinical treatment is a form of medical care that includes ongoing feedback between the doctor and patient. It is used for medical care that may be modified as the patient's health changes due to age or circumstances.

Only a medical professional can advise you on the safety of any treatment. Self-medicating may be dangerous.

Testosterone For Women

Estrogen is not the only hormone. When it comes to women's libido, testosterone is actually the boss. It's a male hormone (androgen) essential to women for cognitive function, growth and the repair of reproductive tissue. Low T in women can cause fatigue, plunge libido and interfere with concentration. Doctors may prescribe testosterone off-label for women who are experiencing brain fog, low mood, fatigue and hot flashes.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is also an effective way to increase testosterone indirectly. DHEA is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. This means it's the source that ovaries use to synthesize testosterone and estrogen. DHEA also brings is own set of advantages.

DHEA, An Alternative To Estrogen

Topically applied DHEA has been shown to help stimulate skin cell growth in women over 60.7 Oral DHEA may reduce depression and create a sense of well-being.7 DHEA can help women who need or want to keep their systemic estrogen levels down. DHEA absorbed into the vagina is transformed into estradiol without raising the body's systemic estrogen.8

Vaginally delivered DHEA supports regrowth of epithelial cells that make up the vaginal lining. It is indicated to relieve vaginal dryness, pain during sex and thinning of vaginal walls. 

HRT And Breast Cancer Risks

The WHI tested "traditional HRT" with conjugated estrogens and progestins and not bioidentical forms of estrogen and progesterone. Although there is a difference between the two, the study did not make a distinction.

Traditional HRT usually refers to lab-made hormones that are similar but not identical to hormones made by the body. Bioidentical hormones are also lab made but they are EXACT molecular and structural matches to hormones made in the body.

Conjugated estrogen, or conjugated equine estrogen (CEE), is a formulation of different types of estrogens derived from the urine of pregnant horses. Brands include Premarin and Prempro.

Medroxyprogesterone is a type of conjugated progestin sold under the brand Depo-Provera. Tibolone is a conjugated hormone known as a progestogen. It produces weak effects similar to estrogen, progesterone and androgenic (male hormone) activity

Bioidentical hormones are made from diosgenin, a chemical extracted from wild yams or soy. No studies to date have found that the body uses bioidentical hormones differently than internally-made hormones.

Current research suggests that estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy seems to lower breast cancer risk, while combination hormone replacement therapy increases risk but may be dependent on the dose and the length of time on the therapy.1

Additionally, a misinterpretation of the WHI study was that estrogen therapy creates "de novo," meaning new cancer tumors.9 Instead research shows that estrogen replacement therapy and/or estrogen plus progesterone may "turn on" occult cancer cells. Occult cancer cells are tumors that are metastatic (already in existence away from the site of origin). With breast cancer, the occult cells have been found in the lymph nodes.9

The above stated risk stresses the importance of personalized hormone replacement therapy.

 

 

SSRIs And SNRI's For Hot Flashes

Well-established selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), like Zoloft (sertraline) and Prozac (fluoxetine) and selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRIs) are still popular off-label treatments for menopause-related hot flashes. They are antidepressants so they may also help with depression and anxiety that unbalanced hormones can create. 

Non-medical recommendations include communication with your partner, self-pleasure, meditation and over-the-counter lubricants.

Pros and cons are a fact of life. Antidepressants can cause sexual dysfunction, relief from lubricants can be short-lived, and sometimes you don't want to talk everything out with your partner. You deserve choices and hope. Medical expertise is also essential.

Hemp Intimate Oil Blended With Stimulating, Sensual Ingredients 

Formulated by Ananda Professional Chief Science Officer Dr. Alex Capano, Bliss Touch helps women overcome emotional and physical issues that can inhibit sexual desire and discourage women from initiating sex with her partner. Each ingredient targets barriers to women's ability to experience sexual fulfillment.

  • Peppermint and Black Pepper - Sourced from plant-derived essential oils, creating cooling and heating sensations
  • Cacao Seed Butter – The theobromine in cacao is the only food known to contain anandamide, the bliss neurotransmitter. And, it tastes great!
  • Coconut Oil – Ideal for increasing natural lubrication
  • L-Arginine – This amino acid may increase vasodilation, improving blood flow and stimulating tissue.
  • Cetearyl – A plant-derived, moisturizing emulsifier that contains healthy fatty acids and is used in organic beauty products.

 

Custom-Made Libido Enhancers

Lady V is an exclusive custom-compounded prescription. Lady V key ingredients:

  • Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra
  • Icariins, from the flowering plant Icariins Sagittam, also known as Epimedium and Barrenwort

Sildenafil increases blood flow to women's sexual reproductive organs and set off a host of responses including vaginal lubrication. Its mechanic of action is to inhibit phosphodiesterase enzyme preventing it from contracting muscles and blood vessels that increase blood flow. Studies show topically-applied sildenafil increases sexual satisfaction, libido, and stimulates vaginal lubrication in premenopausal and post-menopausal women. 

Icariins sagittam has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a natural aphrodisiac in both men and women. Just like sildenafil, icariins is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor.10

Sensitizing Cream For Women

Scream Cream is a customized treatment which may contain a combination of all or some of the following ingredients:

  • Sildenafil - Generic Viagra, not only works as an oral medication, but is also effective and fast-acting as a topical targeted treatment. When applied, it increases blood flow and lubrication.
  • Theophylline is a bronchodilator and PDE5 inhibitor. It opens airways in the lungs and may increase blood flow to female reproductive organs.
  • Generic Hydergine and Gerimal (ergoloid mesylates) prescribed to enhance mood, cognitive function, increase blood flow to the brain and relax other muscles in the body.
  • Testosterone—A key driver of women's libido, mood stabilizer and energy booster.11


For your safety, all MintRx patients with a medical history of cancer will require a release form from their oncologist before receiving any treatment.

For more information about hormone replacement therapy, read out blog,What is Hormonal Imbalance?

Do you have an FSA or HSA savings account? Learn about the medications you may purchase with you tax-exempt earnings. MintRx is a 90% Rule merchant. You may use your FSA/HSA debit card for easy check-out or retain your receipts to submit to your benefits coordinator for reimbursement. Learn more.

References

1. Cagnacci A, Venier M. The Controversial History of Hormone Replacement Therapy. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(9):602. Published 2019 Sep 18. doi:10.3390/medicina55090602

2. How Common Is Breast Cancer? | Breast Cancer Statistics. Cancer.org. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breast-cancer.html. Published 2020. Accessed October 22, 2020.

3. Decrease in deaths from heart disease | Womenshealth.gov. womenshealth.gov. https://www.womenshealth.gov/30-achievements/15. Published 2020. Accessed October 22, 2020.

4. Magon Nvneet, Kalra Sanjay. The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Sep; 15 (Suppl3): S156–S161. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.84851

5. DeAngelis T. The two faces of oxytocin. https://www.apa.org. https://www.apa.org/monitor/feb08/oxytocin Published 2008. Accessed October 22, 2020. 

6. Nguyen T. Hacking Into Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins and Oxytocin (2019) [online] Available at HuffPost.com https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hacking-into-your-happy-c_n_5b9e5a07e4b03a1dcc96060c

7. DHEA: MedLinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health. Online: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/331.html  

8. Santen R.J., Yue W., Heitjan D.F. Modeling of the growth kinetics of occult breast tumors: Role in interpretation of studies of prevention and menopausal hormone therapy. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomark. Prev. 2012; 21:1038–1048. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-0043.

9. Seaman, Andrew. DHEA vaginal suppository good alternative to estrogen creams. Health News. Reuters. Jan. 5, 2016. Online: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-menopause-dhea/dhea-vaginal-suppository-good-alternative-to-estrogen-creams-idUSKBN0UJ0B720160105.

10. Boswell-Smith V, Spina D, Page CP. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors. Br J Pharmacol. 2006;147 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S252  S257 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1760738/

11. Testosterone for Women. Women's Health Concern, British Menopause Society. Online: https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/testosterone-for-women/

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