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Hormone Replacement Therapy – To Choose Or No

The debate is still on. Is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), good or bad?

// Till recently HRT was viewed with caution. The treatment, which targets menopausal women by giving them measured doses of female hormones, was said to be a two -edged sword. Its risks such as breast cancer, and heart disease often outweighed its benefits, which were calming of traumatic menopausal symptoms. This was mainly due to a 2002 study conducted for the prestigious Women Health Initiative (WHI), which claimed that HRT has serious risks such as strokes and heart disease. Hence till now, doctors always prescribed HRT with utmost caution; only when needed urgently.

Yet, last week in what one expert called "a dramatic U-turn", a new WHI study suggested that HRT could in fact protect many patients from such conditions, and claimed that the additional risks might apply only to older women.

HRT, this study said, could in fact, boost the health of women in their fifties or within 10 years of the menopause. This announcement has been met with the expected robust debates and arguments.

Says Dr Heather Currie, a Dumfries-based consultant gynecologist with a specialist interest in menopause: "The really important thing is that this study is not a new one and the findings then in 2002 were just the initial results. This further information is for the same study, which has been further analyzed and is therefore more accurate.

"Most experts felt that the main problem with the study was that its participants were not representative of the women who would choose to take HRT. In particular, the study's age range was 50 to 79. There were a lot of women in the study over the age of 60, and they are going to have very different health profiles compared to those in their fifties, who would be the main group of women who would be going for HRT.

"This further information has come from analyzing the data according to age groups, which is extremely
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