Review casts skeptical eye on hormone replacement therapy

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Review casts skeptical eye on hormone replacement therapyHormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms has been increasingly discredited, and a special report recounts the ups and downs of the therapy over the years.

According to the report published as a supplement to the March issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, there is much disagreement over the effectiveness of the therapy.

Until 1990s, doctors prescribed it to relieve menopause systems, prevent heart disease and osteoporosis. However, a large study from 2002 found that older women taking estrogen plus a synthetic form of progesterone had an elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and blood clots.

The review also cautions against the so-called safe substitutes in the form of bioidentical hormones made from plant sources and chemically processed to be identical to hormones made in the body.

There is no evidence for their improved safety, it says, therefore "it should be assumed that bioidentical hormones have the same risks as conventional therapy."

Meanwhile, health practitioners have suggested that factors such as diet, exercise and nutritional supplements as well as massages and reflexology treatments may minimize unpleasant symptoms including hot flashes, headaches, insomnia, weight gain or fatigue.

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