Past reports of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) linked it to increased risk of breast, womb and ovarian cancers and heart diseases. Fear-stricken, menopausal women have stopped using HRT to battle symptoms like hot flashes.
In fact, an entire generation of women lived in fear of its cancer-related side effects. In terms of numbers, there are approximately a million women suffering from menopausal symptoms for over 10 years.
HRT targets an increase in the production of two female hormones - progesterone and estrogen. HRT was developed in the 1940s and made available in 1965 in Britain. The cancer scare started in the mid-1990s. A huge drop in the number of HRT users became more and more evident in the following years.
A new study conducted by the New York University's School of Medicine looked into 80 post-menopausal women who took HRT in the last 14 years on average. Health findings were compared to 56 post-menopausal women who didn't take HRT. Researchers found that the HRT women did not have increased incidences of heart disease, diabetes or cancer when compared to the non-HRT women.
"We found women taking HRT over a long period of time to be in very good health. It's now clear that women on HRT over many years can enjoy benefits. The risks of HRT have definitely been overstated. The benefits outweigh the risks," said lead author Dr. Lila Nachtigall, who is also an obstetrics and gynecology professor at New York University.
Despite the new findings, health experts in Britain expressed that many doctors are still wary of recommending HRT to their patients, who currently take anti-depressants.
One health expert from the London PMS and Menopause Clinic, Professor John Studd explained that most general practitioners have become afraid of HRT. The belief probably remained after learning its cancer scares during their time as a medical student and the belief simply stuck with them in practice.
Medical firm Mylan also published a survey of 1,000 women wherein 27 percent admitted that they steered clear of HRT because of it health scare.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals' consultant Dr. Nick Panay added that the number of women being denied of a medication that could treat them is high. However, it seems that the recent medical opinion is starting to turn for the better for HRT.
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