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Hormone Therapy Risky for Post-Menopausal Women

Hormone therapy has been effectively used for the treatment of menopause symptoms in women. For some time, it has also been used as a treatment in post-menopausal women to prevent chronic disease. However, a new report indicates that the risks of hormone therapy outweigh benefits in post-menopausal women. Recent recommendations by the U.S. Task Force , reaffirmed findings of a 2005 study indicating that continued hormone therapy in women past menopause does reduce bone fractures caused by osteoporosis, but also increases the risk of invasive breast cancer, stroke, dementia and a variety of other ailments. Two studies released this week contradict some of these statistics. Not included in the Task Force recommendations, some say the inclusion of these studies would not have made a difference, as some findings had little statistical significance. The Task Force continues to recommend the use and prescription of hormone therapy for women with menopausal symptoms. There is solid evidence to show the use of estrogen and progesterone are effective in suppressing night sweats, depression, mood swings, and hot flashes. The Task Force does recommend temporary use of both hormones for menopausal women, with a course starting immediately after her first period and finishing when menopause ends. Recommendations for temporary hormone therapy also include women under the age of 50 who have undergone a hysterectomy. Researchers indicate that further study must be done as some of the recommendations have been made based on a study that followed women almost 10 years past the age of needing prescribed hormone therapy. The study was halted after the Women’s Health Initiative realized the regimen of hormones was causing aggressive breast cancer in participants. However, for women of menopausal age and those younger who have had hysterectomies, the benefits of hormone therapy carry little risk. Effects of estrogen alone have been promising, but until further study the Task Force still concludes that risks of hormone therapy outweigh benefits in post-menopausal women. Sources: ABC News Health - Reuters - Wall Street Journal -
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