What are the effects of hormone treatment after surgical menopause?

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health
Whether or not it is safer to use hormone treatment after surgical menopause has been questioned for a long time. We now have a follow up of almost 29,000 women who had their uterus surgically removed (a hysterectomy) before the natural age of menopause. Approximately half of the women also chose to remove their ovaries, while the remaining half kept their ovaries. The women were followed for 24 years. While the women who had their ovaries removed had much lower risk of either breast cancer or ovarian cancer, their risk of dying from other cancers was increased above that of the risk of women who kept their ovaries. We don't understand why this is so, but the information is helpful in individualizing care of women after a hysterectomy before menopause. If she has an increased risk of ovarian or breast cancer, she may decide not to use hormones. For most women who have an average risk, however, the use of hormones may be the best choice.

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