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More evidence that HRT is safe and prevents heart attacks

Posted Oct 10 2012 10:29am

A new paper published in the BMJ that followed a thousand women over ten years finds that HRTAbbreviation for hormone replacement therapy, the administration of female hormones in cases where they are not sufficiently produced by the body. is not associated with increased risk of cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., and that HRT cuts the risk of heart problems. It was found that HRT had significantly reduced risk of mortality, heart failureFailure of the heart to pump adequately., or heart attackThe death of a section of heart muscle caused by an interruption in its blood supply. Also called a myocardial infarction., without any apparent increase of cancer, deep vein thrombosisObstruction of one of the deep veins, often in the calf, by a blood clot. Often abbreviated to DVT. or strokeAny sudden neurological problem caused by a bleed or a clot in a blood vessel.. These are however relatively early findings and more time will be required before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.

This is good news for many women who have previously been concerned by results from old studies using old formulations of HRT.

The women in the study were aged between 45-58 years old and recently menopausalRelating to the menopause, the time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle.. The women on HRT commenced treatment soon after menopausal symptoms began.  The study also found that that after stopping the therapy, the women continued to see health benefits for six years. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine states: “this is a very significant piece of research and should reassure the millions of women who turn to hormoneA substance produced by a gland in one part of the body and carried by the blood to the organs or tissues where it has an effect. therapy for relief of their menopausal symptoms”.

One of the UKs leading women's health experts, Professor John Studd says:

"Many GPs still refuse to prescribe HRT because of outdated advisory statements and conflicting opinion.  Patients can insist, but still may not receive HRT.  Their options are to either find another GP or alternatively go to a consultant gynaecologist".

Prof Studd goes on to say that he appreciates that finding a new GP is often hard and a gynaecologist in private practice may be expensive.

"In my opinion there should be a menopauseThe time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle. clinic in every hospital.”

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