Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Renewed Confidence in HRT

Since July 2002, there has been a huge downturn in the confidence of, and use of HRT. The concern about risks of HRT followed publication of results the Women's Health Initiative trial in 2002 and of the Million Women study in 2003. The massive publicity around the apparent risks shown by these studies understandably led to HRT being viewed as dangerous and that it should rarely be used.

Both these studies have since been reviewed and reanalysed and the revised outcomes, along with new studies which have now been published paints a much different picture - when used appropriately, HRT provides more benefits than risks for most women. Yet this message has not yet been widely circulated and I continue to hear of women who have distressing menopausal symptoms, have read thoroughly, weighed up the pros and cons and know that HRT is the best option for them but have to battle with their doctor to be allowed to take it.

To sort out the ongoing confusion, a global team of representatives of Menopause Societies and organisations associated with Women's Health met in November 2012 and have published a global consensus statement. The conclusions are clear:

• HRT is the most effective treatment for symptoms related to the hormonal changes of the menopause, and is beneficial for bone health and may decrease mortality and cardiovascular disease.

• Risks are acknowledged, but benefits will generally outweigh the risks for women under sixty, or within ten years of the menopause. The risks are generally small.

• Taking HRT is a decision which needs to be individualised, in consultation with a suitably qualified physician.

This statement is extrememly important and must be widely circulated and discussed. Women should be able to be access accurate, non-biased information so that they can make informed choices and in managing the consequences of the hormonal changes of the menopause, HRT should once again be considered as a safe option.

Full statement on menopausal hormone therapy.

Read more about hormone replacement therapy.

What do you think? Have you encountered problems with getting your doctor to prescribe you HRT? Please let us know below.

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