After the Women’s Health Initiative study done in the early 2000s that demonstrated an increased risk of cardiac events, strokes, blood clots and breast cancer was terminated early, many believed HRT to have more risk than benefit. The number of women taking HRT dropped from 20% to 5% nationwide. One of the flaws in the study was that the women enrolled were over 60y old. For women 50-59years these risks are slightly increased but no where near as drastic as the original study.
The answer to safety is not an “all or none” proposition. HRT is not “good’ or “bad.” As with any treatment, the benefits and risks must be weighed for each individual woman. Remembering that menopause is a chapter in life and not forever helps. Discussing “how long” these symptoms will last or when and which ones warrant treatment is a conversation to have with your physician.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is not a panacea for the changes that occur in menopause throughout the body. Often there are better medications to treat a lot of these specific changes. For example, it is not generally recommended to try to prevent osteoporosis with HRT. Additionally, we would not treat mood disorders that become unmasked during this transition period with HRT.