UVA Health: Hormone treatment during menopause has less risks than previously thought

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Research from UVA Health suggests that some of the information women use to make important decisions about menopause might be wrong.

Women approaching menopause have a choice: Get hormone treatment and risk cancer, or do not and endure hot flashes, sleep issues, and lose bone density.

“Many women became frightened of taking estrogen at all,” Doctor JoAnn Pinkerton with UVA Health said. “When that big study came out the risk were of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots and probable dementia. Why would anyone take it?”

Many chose not to take hormone treatment after that study was released.

“For about 10 years after that study, nobody got estrogen,” Dr. Pinkerton said.

Now, UVA researchers believe those risks may not be there at all.

“If you’re really healthy, and you’re under the age of 60, or close to menopause, we actually don’t see those risks, and that actually may prevent heart disease and help your brain,” Dr. Pinkerton said.

Hormone treatment can still be a concern for women above 60.

“We don’t say at 60, you have to stop it, or you can’t start it, we just say we have to think about the risk versus the benefits for each woman, particularly as the age and I probably wouldn’t start it on somebody over 65 and 70, who’d never been on it,” Dr. Pinkerton said.

Dr. Pinkerton hopes this new information will change the way patients are treated during menopause.

“It’s their providers who are really trying to take away the fear and say if you’re having menopausal symptoms, let’s have a conversation, let’s look at your risk, let’s figure out how to do this. What’s our best options? How can we do it safely?” Pinkerton said.

The UVA Midlife Health Center has resources for anyone menopausal or pre-menopausal.

Do you have a story idea? Send us your news tip here.