The Endocrine Society has released a new, peer-reviewed statement on the risks and benefits of hormone therapy for menopausal women. The upshot is that risks and benefits vary depending on the age of the patient and the length of time since menopause:
One interesting finding . . . was that women who start hormone therapy within 10 years of menopause have a 30% to 40% reduction in total mortality.
In addition, in the 50 to 55 age group the task force concluded that hormone therapy reduced hot flashes and overactive bladder and that vaginal estrogen reduced recurrent urinary tract infections. The evidence also showed that hormone therapy reduced pain on intercourse and improved quality of life.
Given that there are thousands of lawsuits pending over the role of HT in breast cancer, I was especially interested in this nugget of new information:
“Our conclusion is that [the estrogen/progestin hormone combination] didn’t cause breast cancer — it caused preexisting tumors to grow to a size where they became detectable.”