ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
CAREGIVING
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
FITNESS
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Football Can Shrink Players
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Less Education May Mean Poorer Health
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Add your Article

HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Women who take hormones to relieve symptoms of menopause have a higher risk of developing symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Also, women who use selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), used to treat breast cancer and osteoporosis, also have a higher risk of developing reflux, according to a study in the Sept. 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

SERMs, such as tamoxifen, are widely prescribed to treat breast cancer. Another SERM, raloxifene, is widely prescribed for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Almost two-thirds of the population experience GERD during the course of a year, while 20 percent to 30 percent have problems weekly or even more often.

"For a long time, people have thought that female hormones are in some way associated with heartburn," said study author Dr. Brian Jacobson, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. "Women who are pregnant, even in the first trimester before a great big belly pushes on the stomach, already experience heartburn."

In addition, women on oral contraceptives sometimes experience a relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows stomach acids to rise up into the esophagus.

No one, however, had looked to see if exogenous hormones, meaning those that come from outside the body, had an effect on GERD, although some studies have indicated that postmenopausal hormones might increase GERD symptoms in women who are overweight or obese.

The authors of this study reviewed information on 51,637 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study. Participants had provided information on both postmenopausal hormone use as well as symptoms of GERD every two years from 1976 through 2002.

Women who had used hormones had a 46 percent higher risk of having symptoms of GERD, compared with women who had never used postmenopausal hormones. Women currently using estrogen only had a 66 percent raised risk while those currently using combined estrogen and progesterone had a 41 percent increased risk.

The chances of developing GERD symptoms were higher with higher doses of hormones and longer duration of use.

Current SERM users had a 39 percent increased risk, while women taking over-the-counter preparations had an increased risk of 37 percent.

"This is important for a couple of reasons, one just for proof of principle in terms of the mechanisms and pathophysiology," Jacobson said. "We had always suspected [exogenous hormones] might do it. Now, we have more evidence that hormones do somehow cause people to get more heartburn.

The exact biological mechanisms aren't clear yet, but it looks like hormones may lower pressure in the esophageal sphincter.

Because of other risks, including heart attack and breast cancer, experts generally recommend that women limit their use of postmenopausal hormones.

And if a woman does take hormones and experiences heartburn, she might consider an alternative for her menopausal symptoms, Jacobson said.

"A woman [taking hormones who develops GERD] may need additional medication or she may make the decision with her doctor that it's not worth it to continue hormones," said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "GERD is something we will have to keep an eye on when putting patients on hormones. It's not an obvious symptom to patients. . . . so we may need to inform patients ahead of time."

More information

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse has more on GERD.



SOURCES: Brian Jacobson, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, Boston University School of Medicine; Jennifer Wu, obstetrician/gynecologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Sept. 8, 2008, Archives of Internal Medicine

Last Updated: Sept. 08, 2008

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