New research on Hormone Replacement Therapy

October 10, 2012 1:55:53 PM PDT
It was a decade ago many women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy fearful after the federal government pulled the plug on a massive ten year study of Hormone Replacement Therapy.

The study linked the hormones to cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots.

Now new research seems to suggests they may be safe for some women who start taking them soon after they reach menopause.

Since the 2002 study, many women have refused to even consider hormone replacement therapy.

The new study in the British Medical Journal suggests hormone therapy can have benefits for those in early menopause.

"What's interesting about this study is it once again brings up the issue is hormone replacement therapy safe for women who are recently postmenopausal," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum with Lenox Hill Hospital.

The study looked at more than 1,000 Danish women between the ages of 45 and 58 in the early stages of menopause. Half were on hormones, half weren't.

The women were then tracked six more years after the trial was stopped.

Researchers found those who had the hormone therapy were less likely to die, have heart failure, a heart attack or have an increased risk of breast cancer or stroke.

Dr. Steinbaum says hormone therapy is something some women need. "There are some women who really suffer as they go through menopause and this study looks at these women right after they go through menopause when their symptoms might be the worst and says maybe hormone replacement therapy isn't so bad," she says.

While the results are encouraging, Dr. Steinbaum says more study is needed. "We're not yet at the point of saying this is good for you, it could protect your heart, where we're at is it going to hurt you if you actually need it," she adds.

Dr. Steinbaum also points out that ,a different replacement hormone was used in this recent study compared to the 2002 study.

The women also were not followed long enough into their senior years.

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