Hormone replacement therapy has its place but requires caution

A study released on Thursday in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society revealed that most women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are still receiving high dose treatments of the female hormones estrogen plus progesterone. As high dose pills have been linked to elevated rates of cancer and heart disease, this surprised the study’s authors. They recommend that HRT be offered with low dose pills.

HRT is typically given to mitigate the unwanted effects of menopause — like hot flashes, fatigue, poor concentration, and insomnia. The study’s authors did note that the number of patients receiving HRT has dropped by more than half over the last nine years.

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says that the study’s view “is consistent with our own: that if women need hormone replacement therapy, they should take it for the shortest time they need it, and at the lowest effective dose. Low-dose pills and patches seem to be safer even for temporary use.”