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Hormone Replacement Therapy


As a woman ages the ovaries produce less female hormones namely estrogen and progesterone. At menopause, the level of estrogen falls below the levels required for normal menstrual cycles, so the periods stop. While menopause is a natural part of any woman’s life, in some these changes bring on symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. It also can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Although there are multiple non-hormonal therapies available for relief of the symptoms, many women may choose to receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Like other medications, HRT is not free of risks. Findings of the Women's Health Initiative, a study by the National Institutes of Health, raised concerns about the risks of hormones for postmenopausal women. Because of these findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that all products used for postmenopausal women that contain estrogen must include a warning label stating that prolonged use of these hormones could increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer for some women. Current recommendations are to use HRT with the smallest possible dose and in the shortest period of time only for treatment of hot flashes and vaginal dryness. For treatment or prevention of osteoporosis, there are other options available.


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