Short-term HRT may be safe for menopause symptoms

HealthDay reported, “Treatment with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), if tailored to an individual woman’s needs, appears to be safe during menopause, according to a report released at the World Congress on Menopause.”

And, because HRT treatment is “highly individual, a woman’s decision to start or continue treatment should be discussed with her doctor, the authors said.”

The updated recommendations, published in the journal Climacteric, also “urge women using HRT to review the decision annually with their doctor and to discontinue it every few years to see if symptoms return.”

Experts advise that women take HRT only for just as long as they need to and at the lowest dose possible to relieve symptoms.

Other findings:

  • Potential risks and side effects increase with age, the experts said. So, women many years past menopause should be especially cautious, although for some of them long-term HRT may be safe.
  • The combination form of HRT, including both estrogen and progesterone, slightly increases the risk of breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer probably should not take it.
  • Women older than 60, who are at increased risk of stroke from HRT, might consider an HRT transdermal patch, which isn’t associated with elevated stroke risk.
  • Women who have had a hysterectomy can benefit from HRT in terms of reduced risk of heart disease.
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