Hormone Therapy Use In Women Declining

Years after a massive study on hormone replacement therapy showed many health risks for older women who used the therapy to prevent chronic disease, the number of women taking hormones continues to decrease, according to a new study.

Researchers discovered in 2009 and 2010 that less than five percent of women over 40 who had gone through menopause use either estrogen of a combination of estrogen and progestin. The number is compared with 22 percent in 1999 and 2000, reports Reuters.

Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) research leader Dr. JoAnn Manson, who is also a professor at Harvard Medical School, said that it shows promise that there was a decline in the number of women using hormone therapy.

In 2002, the WHI reported that taking estrogen and progestin appeared to increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and breast cancer. Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, stated:

“We now understand that women more distant from the onset menopause and at increased risk of cardiovascular disease have adverse outcomes on hormone therapy and that hormone therapy should not be used for prevention of heart disease or prevention of chronic disease because it is associated with some risks.”

Fox News notes that the increased breast cancer risk from hormone therapy was a major reason why people turned away from it, according to Dr. Robert Langer, a research member of the WHI, who is the principal investigator at the Jackson Hole Center for Preventative Medicine in Jackson, Wyoming.

Langer stated that, “I think it’s a really substantial overreaction” to the harms found in the WHI study. The WHI study showed a 26 percent risk of contracting breast cancer after taking a hormone therapy. But Langer has said that those results applied to older women who were taking hormones to prevent chronic disease, instead of to younger women seeking relief from menopause symptoms.

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