Finally something that makes sense is coming out. A consensus of new analyses clarifying a decade of research since a big government study scared millions of women and their doctors away from using hormone therapy at menopause.
The Women’s Health Initiative—was halted in July, 2002, three years early, when researchers noticed an unexpectedly high rate of breast cancer and heart disease among women taking a popular brand of estrogen and progestin hormones women typically lose in menopause.
The original study wasn’t intended to assess the pros and cons of HT, but to explore whether giving hormones to older women would prevent heart disease, according to WHI researchers. Some 70% of women in the study were over age 60, an average 12 years past menopause. Younger HT users, suffering from hot flashes and other symptoms, were largely excluded.
“My menopausal patients were hysterical. They were calling saying, ‘I’m going to die!’ But this study really didn’t apply to them,” says Mary Jane Minkin, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale School of Medicine.
In 2002, 40 percent of post postmenopausal women in the U.S. using hormone therapy, today it is 20%.
Analyses that came out over the past decade showed that women 50 to 59 who started HT near menopause had fewer cardiovascular problems—and fewer deaths from any cause—than those who started years later. Another branch of the study showed that women who took estrogen only also had a lower risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
To see the what the latest research says about when women should consider taking hormone therapy check out this article.
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