Study: Hormone Replacement Therapy Not A Health Risk

September 14, 2017

For years, women experiencing menopause have been faced with conflicting studies about the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Now, a landmark study is offering some reassurance for women who have undergone or plan to undergo the treatment aimed at relieving some menopausal symptoms.

The clinical trial, conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed 27,000 subjects over 18 years and found that women who took some form of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, for a median of six to seven years were no more, or less, likely to die of any cause than were women who were given a placebo treatment during that time period.

HRT was once considered the standard treatment for mitigating symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats and sleeplessness, but studies by the Women’s Health Initiative in 2002 and 2004 found that HRT increased a woman’s risk of stroke, heart disease and breast cancer.  The new findings conclude women are no more or less likely to die from those diseases if they have undergone HRT.

“This update is reassuring," says Dr. Jeffrey Gordon from the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute in Waterford. "However, over many years, women have been getting confusing information from various reports about hormone therapy. The best thing for any woman to do is to talk with her doctor. That way she can get an individualized assessment of the benefits and risks of hormone therapy.  Here at Hartford HealthCare, we can do that, using the most up-to-date information and resources.”

Despite the reassuring news and earlier studies that showed HRT could actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses, the study’s authors wrote that they “would not support use of hormone therapy for the reducing of chronic disease or mortality.”

The trials subjects averaged about 63 years old at the time of the study.