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.