Hormone therapy (HT) is an effective treatment
for relieving hot flashes from menopause. But the known link
between hormone therapy and increased breast cancer risk has
discouraged many women and their doctors from choosing or recommending
this treatment.The length of time a woman takes HT also
affects a woman’s risk. Taking HT for 5 to 10 or more years
increases the risk.
The type of hormone therapy (estrogen only or
combination of estrogen and progestin), as well as the woman's
individual characteristics, risk factors and severity of menopause
symptoms, should be considered when weighing the risks and benefits
of HRT. The decision to use hormone therapy after menopause should
be made by a woman and her healthcare provider after weighing
all of the potential risks (including heart disease, breast cancer,
stroke and blood clots) and benefits (relief of menopause symptoms
and prevention of osteoporosis).
Women shouldn't have to suffer through menopause. You may be able
to manage your menopausal symptoms by making healthy lifestyle
choices. In fact, your doctor may recommend that you change your
exercise or eating habits before you try medication. If lifestyle
changes aren't providing enough relief from bothersome symptoms,
there are many medications besides hormone therapy to relieve discomfort.
The only way to determine if hormone replacement therapy is the
best treatment for you is to talk to your doctor about your individual
symptoms and health risks. Be sure to keep the conversation going
throughout your menopausal years. As researchers learn more about
hormone therapy and other menopausal treatments, recommendations
may change. Review your current treatments with your doctor on
a regular basis to make sure they're still your best option.
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