STRETCHING-OUTThe use of hormones in the post-menopause period remains controversial due to concerns about breast cancer & heart attack issues primarily.  The pendulum has swung back and forth over the past few decades, with hormone use in post-menopause generally frowned upon for any extended period.

That said, I am a supporter of hormone use in women when it is the ‘right’ choice for them, as the data shows variations in the benefits and risks, based on the particular hormones used and the particular group of women treated.

The latest article analyzing data from the influential WIH (Women’s Health Initiative) study shows:

Estrogen alone….like would be used in women who have had a hysterectomy…..shows:

Reduced Breast Cancer Risk (Yes….REDUCED…..this is the most important finding of this study….that hormone treatment can reduce cancer risk in select groups of women.  It does not always increase risk.)

No increased risk of heart disease

No longevity benefit (but no decline in longevity either!)

Combination hormone….Estrogen & Progesterone… is used in any post-menopausal women who HAS NOT had a hysterectomy, continues to show:

Increased Breast Cancer Risk (statistically significant)

Increased risk of heart disease (statistically significant)

No longevity benefit (but no decline in longevity either!)

Benefits of hormone therapy remain significant for some women, particularly when started early in menopause, and the downside risk depends on a variety of factors.  Certainly women need to be informed of the pro’s and con’s of therapy to make an informed choice that best suits their preferences, without using scare tactics to bully them into forgoing hormone therapy if they are so inclined.