ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
CANCER
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Get to Know the Pap Test
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
CAREGIVING
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Run for Your Life
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
Sleep and Do Better
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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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