Women who are past menopause and healthy should not use hormone replacement therapy in hopes of warding off dementia, bone fractures or heart disease, says a new analysis by the government task force that weighs the risks and benefits of screening and other therapies aimed at preventing illness.
The recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not necessarily apply to women who use hormone replacement therapy to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. The balance of harm and benefits for that use is expected to be addressed soon in a report by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The task force found limited evidence that hormones protect against bone fractures, and no evidence that they reduce the most probable threat — heart disease. It also found that for most menopausal women using hormone therapy, the risk of developing dementia later in life actually rose a bit.
Against such sparse benefits, the panel weighed relatively new evidence of the risks, including a significantly higher rate of life-threatening blood clots in the legs and lungs, a greater probability of gallbladder disease and increased risk of urinary incontinence that persisted in studies for at least three years.
Read more from Los Angeles Times.