BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There’s been a lot of talk over the years about hormone replacement therapy for women. Is it safe? And does it provide any benefits for women entering menopause?

We know that, before menopause, women have far less cardiovascular disease than men. And then, when they stop making female hormones, they begin to catch up. So it seemed simple – replace the hormones and they would be protected from heart disease. The women’s health initiative was supposed to prove that.

Instead, when the results came out 10 years ago, there wasn’t any cardiovascular benefit, and maybe even some harm from hormone replacement, and, even worse, there was an increased risk of breast cancer. After that report the use of replacement hormones plummeted.

Now a new report with opposite results has just been published in the British Medical Journal. They studied more than a thousand women ages 45-58, treated half of them with hormone replacement, and followed them for 10 years. The ones who received hormones had a 52 percent reduction in death, heart attack and heart failure, and no increased risk of cancer.

Other recent studies have also reported benefits of hormone replacement therapy.

A big difference between these two major studies was age. The women’s health initiative enrolled women who averaged about 12 years older than those in the new study. The benefits may depend upon starting treatment early. So early in menopause, women may want to consider it and not be afraid it will harm them.

This study showed that it’s safe for 10 years at least, and researchers are still following those women.


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