Is postmenopausal hormone therapy safe?

At one time, experts encouraged postmenopausal women to take hormone therapy (HT) not only because it reduced
such symptoms as hot flashes and vaginal dryness but also because it was believed estrogen lowered women’s risk for developing some diseases. But numerous studies have contested that approach, demonstrating that HT actually increases women’s risk for developing conditions such as cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. Essentially, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for the use of HT in postmenopausal women.

“It’s a scenario that’s very confusing to women,” says Gail Greendale, MD, research director of the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center. “After we discovered the potential risks, many women and physicians became afraid to even think about HT. But some women may be suffering unnecessarily because in some cases, appropriate, short-term, targeted use of HT in symptomatic woman can be beneficial and relatively safe.”

“The essential approach to HT is that it should be reserved for symptomatic women and used in the lowest dose and for the shortest period of time to effectively control symptoms,” Dr. Greendale says.

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Your endocrine system works with your nervous system to control important bodily functions. The endocrine systems responsibilities include regulating growth, sexual development and function, metabolism and mood. The endocrine syst...

em also helps give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are considered chemical messengers, coordinating your body by transferring information from one set of cells to another. Your endocrine system health can be affected by hormone imbalances resulting from impaired glands. A hormone imbalance can cause problems with bodily growth, sexual development, metabolism and other bodily functions. Endocrine system diseases or conditions include diabetes, growth disorders and osteoporosis.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.