Menopausal hormone therapy may lead to blood clot related health risks
Government agency cautions against hormone replacement therapy
  • Thu, 05/31/2012 - 1:40pm

In 2009, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force suggested that women between the ages of 40 and 49 shouldn’t subject themselves to the possible false positives, anxiety, and needless biopsies that mammograms create. In response, American Cancer Society chief medical officer Dr. Otis Brawley told CNN, "With its new recommendations, the [task force] is essentially telling women that mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives; just not enough of them.”

Today, the governmental group is inciting more talk by stating the obvious.

“No shock there,” Dr. Carolyn Crandall told CNN in response to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force advising menopausal women to forego hormone therapy. “I don’t think the recommendations are surprising at all.”

Many women take a combination of estrogen and progestin to ward off hot flashes, but a 10 year Women’s Health Initiative study of 70,000 women suggested that hormone therapy increases one’s risk of suffering a stroke, deep vein thrombosis that could lead to a stroke, urinary incontinence, pulmonary embolism, gallbladder disease, or dementia.

Estrogen therapy alone also raised the risk for death, stroke, deep venous thrombosis, gallbladder disease, and urinary incontinence but reduced the risk of breast cancer, whereas the progestin-estrogen combo slightly elevated that risk.

The USPSTF says that its recommendations do not apply to women younger than 50 who are using the therapy to treat menopausal symptoms. It does, however, recommend that hormone therapy only be used short-term, or three to five years, to treat menopausal symptoms. Likewise, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists website suggests that a woman weigh her risk factors when deciding whether to use hormone therapy.

As with any medication, be sure to speak with your healthcare professional before quitting hormone therapy.


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