Not content to aggravate urologists and men concerned about prostate cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has now made a recommendation that is likely to rile gynecologists and postmenopausal women. The panel of experts reviewed studies relating to the use of hormone replacement therapy to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and dementia. It concluded that there is inadequate evidence to support HRT use for any of these conditions. In reaching this conclusion the Task Force reviewed data on over 160,000 women in the 15-year Women’s Health Initiative. Risks of hormone replacement therapy include gallbladder disease, blood clots that can be life threatening and a greater likelihood of urinary incontinence, stroke and dementia.
[Annals of Internal Medicine, May 28, 2012]

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  1. emma k.

    I second your question! The Women’s Health Initiative at least as far as HRT is concerned was flawed. Why do I say that? A large number of the women that were prescribed HRT were well beyond the onset of menopause.
    I wonder if any members of the task force ever experienced the debilitating hot flashes I did. Without HRT my job would have been in jeopardy.

  2. DIK V

    In relationship to prostate cancer treatment I was given injections of Luprom a hormone to eliminate testosterone in my system. I had hot flashes that were really bad. I survived OK.

  3. Elle H.

    Just who comprises the makeup of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force? And just what are their qualifications other than trying to cut out what could be life-saving medical practices?

  4. KPC

    For ten years after the start of menopause I did not take HRT. Instead Vitamin E stopped my hot flashes almost entirely. At the ten year mark I had a bone scan at Duke, considering entering a trial drug for osteoporosis as my mother had had serious consequences of this disease. The result was my bone density at age 57 was like that of a 73 y.o. woman.
    I was prescribed HRT and exercise. I already walked one hour a day and went to an exercise class 2-3 times weekly. I upped the weight bearing exercise slightly. Two years later my bone density was classified as that of a 55 y.o. The doctor was delighted with my success taking HRT.
    After ten years of HRT and continued good bone density, my doc refused to continue HRT. I was switched to Evista which I continue to take. My bone scan this past Wednesday showed no further loss of bone density. I continue to exercise daily at home plus walk 30-45 minutes. I am 77 y.o.

  5. MC

    Regarding hormones after menopause–
    For years (70’s, 80’s 90’s) Premarin was prescribed for this, and during the study Premarin was used. Thus this study gives info about Premarin, not about bio-identical hormones or other physiologic replacement.
    About 5-6 years ago, many doctors/gynecologists and women were pulled off their HRT suddenly because of a study release. At that time, most were on PremPro–a combination of premarin and progesterone–again not physiologic.
    Premarin comes from pregnant horse urine. That form of estrogen was made for horses, not humans. As a physician and student of nutrition I was appalled that its use was so widespread and so accepted for so many years.
    Presently many physicians are recognizing that hormone replacement is safe using the bioidentical forms. Many use compounding and often forms can be given topically or intra-vaginally. Serum levels of estrogen can be measured– BUT more importantly a gynecologist can tell on physical exam and under the microscope from a vaginal swab if there is adequate estrogen effect on that tissue. A small amount of estradiol can prevent hot flashes but not be in excess. No research has been done on this type of use. Presumably there would be fewer side effects like gall bladder etc since doses are much smaller. Don’t treat the lab test, treat the person.
    No one should count on a hormone to prevent heart disease or osteoporosis–regular exercise and preventative medical care in these areas is necessary. I share your concerns about the “osteoporosis drugs” because of serious side effects, and have refused them myself. Weight bearing exercise and good nutrition are treatment of choice for osteoporosis. Another societal idol– being too thin– can increase chance of osteoporosis.

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