Danish researchers are promoting the new approach because it does not increase the risk of cancer or blood clots, health concerns that tend to effect menopausal women, according to experts at the Cardiovascular Institute of Northwest Florida.
HRT had not been shown by the study to increase women’s likelihood of suffering from cancer, stroke, or deep vein thrombosis either, calling into question previous research on the matter.
The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal on Oct. 9, tracked 1,006 women who had recently started menopause. The women were between the ages of 45 and 58 and were tracked for 16 years after the beginning of the study. After a decade, 59 of the 502 patients who had not been taking the therapy had died from heart attacks, heart failure or other causes.
This number is almost double that of the group of 504 women who were taking hormone replacement therapy, which saw 31 women die. The study also found that, even when women stopped the treatment, the benefits persisted for six years.
Women have stepped away from hormone therapy since the landmark Women’s Health Initiative study found elevated risks of breast cancer, heart disease and other health problems among women taking estrogen plus progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone. That study was halted early because of the results, published in 2002.
Later on, reviews of the infamous study found the methodology had been flawed and its conclusions were therefore unreliable, but the damage had already been done; the number of women who used the treatment declined by half.
Hormone replacement therapy reinserts female hormones no longer produced during menopause. The therapy can help with symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, and irritability.
Women considering the treating are advised to consult a doctor. It is suggested that HRT not last for longer than five years, but can be doled out for as long as a decade.