May 29, 2012 — A new study is adding weight to the growing amount of scientific evidence that the risks of hormone therapy outweigh the benefits. The study was published yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. After finding that hormone replacement therapy is associated with a large number of severe side effects, researchers now recommend that post-menopausal women should not take combined estrogen plus progestin to reduce the risk of some chronic conditions.
The researchers compiled data from nine clinical trials, drawing data mostly from the Women’s Health Initiative. The studies showed that estrogen plus progestin was associated with a lower risk of bone fractures, but an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, lung cancer death, gallbladder disease, dementia, and urinary incontinence.
Estrogen-only therapy was associated with a lower risk of bone fractures, invasive breast cancer, and death, but was associated with a higher risk of stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), gallbladder disease, and urinary incontinence.
The researchers concluded by recommending that post-menopausal women should not use hormone replacement therapy to prevent certain chronic conditions.
In the past, post-menopausal women have been told that they should use hormone replacement therapy to reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia, hot flashes, and more. Unfortunately, a massive study funded by the National Institutes of Health had to be aborted prematurely in 2002, after researchers associated hormone replacement therapy with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
The new research verifies the conclusions of the previous study, and reiterates that the risks of hormone replacement therapy likely outweigh any benefits. Many of the side effects associated with this therapy could cause severe injury, permanent disability, or death.
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