Menopause symptoms can be a real headache.
Credits: QMI AGENCY
After a 2002 report from the Women's Health Initiative sounded the alarm about the risks of HRT (hormone replacement therapy), the therapy was nearly universally abandoned. Health experts including Heath Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society advised against it.
But a statement released Sunday by the n, and endorsed by the Society of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists of Canada and the SIGMA Canadian Menopause Society, counters the WHI findings.
"The results of the WHI and the conflicting reports that followed led many women to believe hormone therapy may not be a safe treatment for menopausal symptoms," NAMS said. "We believe that too many symptomatic women are missing out on the proven benefits of hormone therapy."
WHI's study involving more than 16,000 women looked at long-term use of HRT as a preventative for heart disease, with possible other benefits like increased bone strength and a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. The study was stopped in 2002 when the researchers found significant increases in the rates of breast cancer, strokes and pulmonary embolisms in women taking estrogen with progestin.
NAMS' panel says the study's results don't apply to all women.
Research and analysis over the past decade has shown that hormone therapy is "acceptable and relatively safe" for women who are relatively young (up to 59 years old) or who begin treatment within the first 10 years of menopause.
"We want women to know that there are options out there for relief of their menopausal symptoms," Dr. Janet E. Hall said in the statement. "The level of risk depends on the individual, her health history, age, and the number of years since her menopause began."