Hormone replacement therapy is not helpful for keeping women healthy. That’s the conclusion from a long-term follow-up study of two groups participating in the Women’s Health Initiative.
For decades, women were encouraged to take HRT on the grounds that it would prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and dementia. This gold-standard randomized controlled trial demonstrated that exposure to Prempro, a combination of estrogens and synthetic progestin, actually increased the risk for heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, pulmonary embolism, gallbladder disease, dementia and urinary incontinence. Premarin alone increased the risk for stroke and blood clots in veins.
After 13 years, the investigators found that neither HRT regimen helped women survive longer. The scientists suggest that hormone replacement therapy be used only for limited periods of time to ease symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats.
Although it was written before the latest research from the Women’s Health Initiative, our book Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy has a great deal of information on non-pharmaceutical approaches to menopause symptoms as well as advice on warding off many chronic diseases. Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy was published by Rodale Books.