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Hormone Therapy Safe, Effective for Women Entering Menopause
Date:5/20/2008

Experts stress that the finding applies only to those under 60 years of age,,,,

TUESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Many women, and even some physicians, quickly abandoned the use of hormone replacement therapy in 2002, after the large Women's Health Study suggested that the treatment might harm women who were long past menopause.

But now a team of international experts has concluded that for women in early menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can safely provide real symptom relief, as well as additional benefits such as increased bone strength.

"Young healthy women at the onset of menopause shouldn't be afraid to use hormones," said Dr. Roger Lobo, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University in New York City, and one of the authors of the report on HRT and menopause submitted to the first International Menopause Society Global Summit on menopause-related issues.

"Women need to know that hormone therapy in early menopause is safe and is absolutely the most effective way of managing the menopausal transition," said Dr. Melissa McNeil, chief of the section of women's health at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a professor of medicine, obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Initial results were released from the Women's Health Study in 2002. Those findings suggested that HRT increased a user's risk of breast cancer and -- more surprisingly -- their risk of heart disease. Older women were immediately advised to stop taking hormones, and even women just entering menopause were advised against using hormone therapy.

However, what wasn't widely understood at the time was that the women in the study tended to be long past menopause -- often by at least 10 years -- when they started taking the hormones. Additionally, the summit experts pointed out that one-third of the women in the trial were obese, more than one-thir
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