Menopause hormone therapy deemed safe, reversing previous concerns

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A recent study published in JAMA suggests that the benefits of hormone therapy for menopause symptoms outweigh the risks. Dr. JoAnn Manson, the study’s author, stated that hormone therapy is safe for treating hot flashes and night sweats in women under 60, contrary to previous advice.

The study reevaluated data from the Women’s Health Initiative study, which initially raised concerns about hormone replacement therapy’s safety, especially regarding Prempro, a combination of estrogen and progestin. However, the new analysis, spanning two decades, indicates a low risk of adverse events with hormone therapy.

Dr. Manson noted that the original trial aimed to assess hormone therapy’s effect on heart disease and other conditions, but the findings led to a drastic decline in hormone therapy prescriptions. This decline was partly due to concerns about increased risks of breast cancer and stroke associated with the type of hormones used in the study.

Experts now emphasize that there are safer hormone options available, such as micronized progesterone, which has fewer side effects and does not increase breast cancer risk. Additionally, using transdermal estrogen, delivered via patch, cream, or gel, reduces the risk of blood clots compared to oral estrogen.

Dr. Lauren Streicher, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, believes the Women’s Health Initiative study was flawed, particularly due to the age of participants and the type of progestin used. She emphasizes that starting hormone therapy between ages 50 and 60, with the right type of hormones, can provide the most benefit and safety.

Current research suggests that hormone therapy not only helps with menopause symptoms but also protects against bone loss and heart disease. Dr. Streicher emphasizes the importance of personalized hormone therapy based on individual needs and encourages women to discuss options with their healthcare providers.

In conclusion, recent studies indicate that hormone therapy is safe and beneficial for managing menopause symptoms, contrary to previous beliefs. With advancements in hormone therapy, women can explore safer options to alleviate symptoms and potentially reduce long-term health risks.

Re-reported the article originally posted on NPR

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