ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Keep Fire Safety in Mind as You Celebrate
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
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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