Now experts say hormone therapy is safe and effective for women entering menopause. However, they stress that the finding applies only to those under 60 years of age.
Some of their key findings included:
- Combined estrogen and progesterone do not increase heart disease risk in women aged 50 to 59.
- Estrogen therapy alone decreased the risk of heart disease in women between 50 and 59.
- Hormone replacement therapy helps maintain bone health.
- Cognition isn't impaired by the use of hormones between 50 and 59; hormone therapy may help prevent some cognitive decline in this age group.
- Combined use of estrogen and progesterone may increase the risk of breast cancer after 5 years of use; estrogen-alone therapy appeared to bring no increase in risk of breast cancer after at least 7 years of use. The researchers felt the increase for breast cancer risk from hormone therapy was small, especially when compared to other risk factors, such as obesity.
They also warn that HRT is not recommended for women with multiple risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, a strong family history, or smokers.