Hormone replacement therapy has been used for decades to treat menopausal symptoms. But past studies had linked HRT to women’s risk of developing a variety of health problems, including blood clots, gallbladder disease, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. Consequently, more and more women have become reluctant to try the treatment.
However, a new study published in the British Medical Journal said taking hormone replacement therapy shortly after the start of menopause may be beneficial to women’s heart, the MedicalDaily reports.
The study, conducted by Danish researchers, tracked down 1,006 women, ages 45 to 58, who recently started menopause. The women were divided into two groups, the HRT-taking group and the non-HRT-taking group. Ten years later, more than 50 of the 502 participants from the non-HRT group have died, compared to the 31 deaths under the HRT group which composed of 504 patients.
Despite the findings, health experts are not changing current recommendations for HRT use. Some are saying that the study’s small numbers are not enough to convince them to recommend HRT to ward off heart problems.
“I wouldn’t recommend HRT to postmenopausal women to reduce heart attacks,” said Dr. Mary Ann McLaughlin, director of the cardiac health program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, in a HealthDay report. “These results make me feel more confident that some women may benefit from estrogen therapy, but until I figure out which particular women those are, I would not recommend a carte blanche giving estrogen again to prevent heart attacks.”