Hormone therapy for postmenopausal women
Hormone therapy is recommended for relief from hot flashes or night sweats in women younger than age 60 years or those who entered menopause within 10 years of seeking treatment. Hormone therapy also can reduce bone loss and the risk of fractures; offer a potential cardioprotective benefit; and alleviate the genitourinary symptoms of menopause, including dysfunction of the bladder and irritation of the vagina and vulva.
For women with early menopause without contraindications, hormone therapy is recommended until at least the average age of natural menopause. Observational studies suggest that the risk of thromboembolism and stroke is lower with transdermal therapy than with oral hormone therapy. Compounded bioidentical hormone therapies that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration are not recommended owing to safety concerns. Hormone therapy is not recommended for primary or secondary prevention of coronary heart disease or dementia. Nonhormone therapies that have been shown to reduce hot flashes include low-dose selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors and serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, gabapentinoids, weight loss, hypnosis, and cognitive behavioral therapy. For women with only genitourinary symptoms, local vaginal hormone therapies are recommended.
The treatment is not without its risks, including concerns about cognitive decline and breast cancer. More research is warranted, to determine the long-term benefits and risks of menopausal hormone therapy, to gauge the effects of prolonged use in women initiating therapy close to menopause, to inform the timing of and approach to hormone therapy discontinuation, and to answer additional unknowns. As scientists work to address these questions, technology can help identify women likely to benefit from hormone therapy. The MenoPro mobile app, backed by the North American Menopause Society, provides a free algorithm to flag the strongest candidates.
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ISSN 2411-1295 (Online), ISSN 2309-4117 (Print)