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Health A-Z

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Challenging the myths around dieting and weight from our Health for Women website

A few simple lifestyle changes can prevent kilo creep, without dieting. Learn more...

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Hot Topics

The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health comments on published research work from Australia and around the world to assist women to make informed decisions in managing their health.

Please note: Information in Hot Topics is updated or removed as appropriate as new studies are released. Also, where appropriate, the information from Hot Topics is available in our websites.

Hormone Replacement Therapy 10 years on from WHI

Statement from Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, 22 May 2012:

A comprehensive review of evidence surrounding the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women was published by Climacteric, the official journal of the International Menopause Society, online on Tuesday 22 May 2012.

Articles by some of the world’s leading experts in the field show how evidence has changed in the ten years since the first Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) report caused a dramatic drop in HRT use worldwide. The 2002 WHI study found that risks associated with HRT outweighed its benefits in older women (on average 12 years past menopause), who are already at high risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

It is now clear that “classical use of HRT” – i.e. for relief of menopausal symptoms around the time of a woman’s last menstrual period – is effective and safe. For otherwise healthy women suffering debilitating symptoms around the time of menopause, the benefits of taking HRT significantly outweigh the risks. These benefits include not only relief of menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and vaginal atrophy, but also improvements in bone strength (women who ceased their HRT after the 2002 WHI report significantly increased their risk of bone fractures) and lasting reductions in risks of diabetes, heart disease and various cancers.

Read more...

Are you up for a Challenge?

Jean Hailes for Women's health takes up the fight against heart disease.

Did you know heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Australian women? And that 90 per cent of Australian women have at least one risk factor such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or family history?

That is why Jean Hailes for Women's Health is supporting the Heart Foundation's Go Red for Women campaign. We are encouraging women to sign up for the free Go Red for Women Healthy Heart Challenge to help raise awareness and lower heart disease risk.

This free online six week challenge kicks off Monday, 4 June. Participants are asked to commit to one goal out of a choice of four:

  • to improve everyday nutrition
  • be active everyday
  • lower high blood pressure
  • or lower high cholesterol levels.

Read more...

Slowing the biological clock won’t solve family planning dilemmas

In future, women could remain fertile for longer by undergoing an ovarian tissue transplant, according to a paper published in April 2012 by American and Danish researchers. 

The Reproductive Biomedicine paper reports that three women who received ovarian tissue transplants in Europe and the United States have given birth to eight children between them. The women had experienced either treatment for cancer or premature menopause.

Two women had their tissue frozen and the third had fresh tissue transplanted, which was donated by her sister. The authors conclude that the success of these procedures indicates that, in future, healthy women could use ovarian tissue freezing and transplantation to halt the natural decline in fertility that occurs once a woman reaches her early- to mid-30s.

They claim that the procedure could also allow women to postpone menopause – and its potentially debilitating symptoms – for up to seven years. But while these data are encouraging for women facing compromised fertility when they are of reproductive age, ovarian tissue freezing and transplantation are still experimental and the “success” of the study (defined in the paper as live births) remains limited.

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New fertility campaign launch

Jean Hailes is proud to announce the launch of Your Fertility, a campaign to inform Australians about how age and lifestyle factors such as weight, smoking and alcohol use can affect their ability to conceive and have healthy children.

Visit the Your Fertility website ( for clear and impartial information about fertility, use the fertility quiz to test your knowledge and if you’re trying to conceive, take advantage of the ovulation calculator.

Your Fertility is brought to you by the Fertility Coalition: VARTA, Andrology Australia, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health and the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute.

See also: Most Australians don't know when fertility starts downhill slide

Content updated 26 March 2012

Getting the facts straight on HRT and cancer

Professor Henry Burger was interviewed last week for an article on The Conversation news website, regarding a series of articles published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health. The articles suggest that the authors of the 2003 Million Women Study in the UK were wrong to claim they had proved that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) causes cancer.

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Breast Cancer Screening

Breast cancer screening (a.k.a. mammography) is a widely used method to maximise the possibility of early diagnosis, but in recent years questions have been raised about the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of screening - particularly with regard to the possibility of over-diagnosis (finding a cancer which has little or no risk for the individual) and false positive findings (when no cancer is actually present) leading to anxiety and unnecessary diagnostic or surgical procedures.

Read more...

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