An analysis by a federal task force finds that hormone replacement therapy’s risks may outweigh the benefits for women who are past menopause and healthy but hoping to ward off dementia, bone fractures or heart disease.
Women who are past menopause and healthy should not use hormone replacement therapy in hopes of warding off dementia, bone fractures or heart disease, says a new analysis by the government task force that weighs the risks and benefits of screening and other therapies aimed at preventing illness.
The recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not necessarily apply to women who use hormone replacement therapy to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. The balance of harm and benefits for that use is expected to be addressed soon in a report by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The latest recommendation, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, comes from an organization accustomed to controversy. In recent months, the task force has recommended against routine breast cancer screenings for most women younger than 50. It has also urged abandonment of the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test that has become a standard part of older men’s yearly physicals.
Its latest recommendation could be a bit less controversial but is likely to have detractors among physicians who believe that the dangers of hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women have been overblown.