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Medical Groups Agree on Use of Hormone-Replacement Therapy
Date:7/9/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- A coalition of leading medical groups has concluded that hormone-replacement therapy can be useful and safe for many women suffering from the symptoms of menopause.

The coalition includes 15 medical groups, including the North American Menopause Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Endocrine Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The goal of the statement, released Monday, is to reassure women and doctors that hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) is acceptable and relatively safe for healthy, symptomatic, recently postmenopausal women, the statement authors said in a news release.

"Over the last 10 years, there has been a complete abandonment of hormone therapy in some settings accompanied by reluctance to treat women who would benefit from relief of their [menopausal] symptoms. As a result, some women have sought unproven alternative therapies," the authors added.

The use of hormone-replacement therapy has been steeped in controversy since 2002 when the Women's Health Initiative study said it was too risky to use, linking the therapy to increased risks of breast cancer and heart disease.

"We want to emphasize the difference between taking hormone therapy short-term for treatment of menopausal symptoms versus taking hormone therapy for prevention of chronic diseases. Many women can safely take hormone therapy for relief of menopausal symptoms when they work closely with their provider to assess their personal risks and benefits," Dr. Margery Gass, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, said in the news release. "Women and clinicians have been frustrated by the many conflicting recommendations over the past 10 years. This statement should be reassuring to all."

Highlights of Monday's statement include:

  • Hormone therapy is an acceptable choice for the
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