|September is National Menopause Awareness Month: NHLBI Offers
Comprehensive Guidance for Women on Understanding Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Women facing decisions about menopause and hormone therapy can find comprehensive
information in a new booklet from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
(NHLBI). Facts About Menopausal Hormone Therapy provides updated information
on the hormone trials of NHLBI’s Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and summarizes
the risks and benefits of hormone treatment.
The long-term WHI hormone studies evaluated the effects of menopausal hormone
therapy on many health issues facing women, including heart disease, breast cancer,
colorectal cancer, and osteoporosis. Still more information was gained about
quality of life issues and cognition.
In 2002, the WHI estrogen-plus-progestin study was stopped because of an increased
risk of breast cancer and because, overall, risks from use of the hormones outweighed
the benefits. The combination therapy increased the risk for heart attack, stroke,
and blood clots. The hormone treatment also reduced the risk for hip and other
fractures, and colorectal cancer. Two years later, the WHI estrogen-alone study
was halted because of an increased risk of stroke and no significant effect on
the risk of heart disease. Estrogen-alone also increased the risk for venous
thrombosis (blood clots deep in a vein). Like the combination therapy, estrogen-alone
reduced the risk for hip and other fractures.
The new booklet describes these research findings in detail and describes the
current guidance on the use of menopausal hormone therapy. New study findings
on the effects of combination therapy on cognition and urinary incontinence are
“For women with menopause symptoms, making personal, informed decisions about
hormone therapy can be challenging and often confusing. We’re providing an in-depth
resource to help women understand the issues and discuss them with their health
care providers, “said NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.
In addition to a detailed description of WHI and other research findings on
hormone therapy, the booklet addresses alternatives to hormone therapies that
can alleviate menopause symptoms, provides a check-list for discussing hormone
therapy with a physician, and a comprehensive list of health screenings that
all women of menopausal age should be including in their health regimens.
Facts About Menopausal Hormone Therapy can be downloaded free of charge at http://emall.nhlbihin.net/product2.asp?source=&sku=05-5200.
Printed copies can be ordered online or by phone through the NHLBI Health Information
Center, 301-592-8573 or 240-629-3255 (TTY).
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Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.