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Women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats may be no more likely to die prematurely than women who don’t take hormones, a new study suggests.
Many women have been reluctant to use hormones for menopause symptoms since 2002, when the federally funded Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study linked the treatments containing man-made versions of the female hormones estrogen and progestin to an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes.
Study - Data - WHI - Study - Risk
The current study, however, looked at longer-term data from the WHI study and found no increased risk of death from all causes, or from cancer or cardiovascular issues in particular, associated with hormone use.
“Women seeking treatment for distressing hot flashes, night sweats or other menopausal symptoms may find the mortality results reassuring,” said lead study author Dr. JoAnn Manson of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Women - Menopause - Ages - Ovaries - Production
Women go through menopause when they stop menstruating, typically between ages 45 and 55. As the ovaries curb production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the years leading up to menopause and afterward, women can experience symptoms ranging from irregular periods and vaginal dryness to mood swings and insomnia.
For the study, researchers looked at data on 27,347 women ages 50 to 79 who joined two WHI trials between 1993 and 1998 and were followed through 2014. One trial tested estrogen alone against a placebo, or dummy pill, while the other trial tested estrogen taken in combination with progestin.
Women - Years - Average - Trials - Menopause
Women were 63 years old on average when they joined the trials and had already gone through menopause. They took hormones or a placebo for five to seven years and were followed for a total of 18 years altogether.
During the study period, 7,489 women died.
Death - Rates - Percent
Death rates were similar - at about 27 percent -...
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