A government health agency recently cautioned against the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for addressing or preventing health problems in postmenopausal women.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published a final recommendation statement and a final evidence summary, both documents counseling against using a combination of estrogen and progestin — commonly referred to as HRT — to ward off chronic health conditions in women past menopause, according to an American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) announcement.
“In women who have already been through menopause, the use of hormone therapy to prevent chronic conditions has significant harms," USPSTF Chair Dr. David Grossman said in the announcement.
The group also advised practitioners not to use estrogen alone for that same purpose in post-menopausal women who have had hysterectomies, according to the announcement. The risks of HRT comprise higher chances of invasive breast cancer and heart disease, while the risks of pure estrogen include stroke, blood clots and gallbladder ailments.
"Our recommendation only applies to women who have gone through menopause and are considering hormone therapy to prevent chronic health problems," USPSTF's Maureen Phipps said, according to AAFP. "Women who are considering hormone therapy to manage menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes or night sweats, are not included in this recommendation and should talk to their doctors."
Additionally, USPSTF said, the caveat excludes women who had premature menopause or surgical menopause.