Hormone therapy (HT) remains the most effective treatment available for menopausal hot flashes and night sweats. The Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) and The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) encourage women to understand the benefits and risks of hormone therapy in order to decide if this therapy is right for them.
In the ten years since the first hormone therapy recommendations emerged from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), new evidence has been discovered on effective dosing for women and the importance of individualization.
"It is essential to evaluate a personal benefit-risk profile for each woman considering HT," said Margery Gass, MD, NCMP, Executive Director of NAMS. "Factors contributing to the HT decision include the severity of menopausal symptoms, any individual risk factors, and effect on quality of life."
Included in the NAMS 2012 HT Position Statement are recommendations for duration of therapy that differ for Estrogen Progestogen Therapy (EPT) in women with a uterus, and Estrogen Therapy (ET) in women who have had a hysterectomy. Neither ET nor EPT increases the risk of heart disease in healthy women younger than 60 years of age or within 10 years of menopause. However, the risk of stroke can be increased but is considered rare in the 50s.
"Arming women with more information on the benefits and risks of hormone therapy is crucial for menopause decisions," said Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, President and CEO of SWHR. "Personal risk factors and quality of life should all be taken into account."
There still is a lack of safety data supporting the use of HT in breast cancer survivors and additional research is needed to understand the different effects of ET and EPT for individual women with this history.
The Society for Women's Health Research