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Hormonal Treatment of Hot Flashes Still OK for Some: Experts
Date:10/18/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Women do have options when it comes to treating hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, and these still include the short-term use of hormone replacement therapy using estrogen alone, experts conclude in a new consensus report.

"Hormone replacement therapy should be considered a very reasonable option for recently menopausal women who have moderate-to-severe hot flashes or night sweats," said Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the current president of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was widely used up until 2002. That year, however, the estrogen-plus-progestin arm of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial was stopped early after women who took the formulation were found to have an increased risk for heart disease, strokes, breast cancer and blood clots. Use of HRT plummeted soon after the news was announced.

However, analysis of the estrogen-only arm from the same trial showed that younger postmenopausal women who had had a hysterectomy -- could take estrogen for up to six years without significant risks.

As a result, the pendulum may be swinging back toward the use of supplemental estrogen -- in low doses and for short periods of time -- to relieve some of the symptoms of menopause. So concludes the new report, which is being released jointly by the International Menopause Society and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

The report was funded by the International Menopause Society and is published Oct. 18 -- International Menopause Day -- in the journal Climacteric.

According to Manson and colleagues, older women need to be more proactive when it comes to relieving the symptoms of menopause, and HRT provides the best results for treating hot flashes and night sweats
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