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STUDY: Study finds more reasons for women not to take hormones
JOURNAL: Baylor College of Medicine
AUTHORS: Jennifer Hays
ABSTRACT: Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy, already shown to be bad for older women’s physical health, is found to be no panacea for their memory or mental outlook either.
In a challenge to popular belief, a large study finds that estrogen and progestin pills fail to make older women feel better by improving their memory, sleep or sex lives.
COMMENTARY: The results suggest this is nothing more than a placebo effect. The researchers conclude the pills are still an effective treatment for short-term relief from hot flashes and night sweats, but nothing else.
“The average woman will not experience an improvement in her quality of life by taking this pill,” said Jennifer Hays of Baylor College of Medicine, a psychologist who directed the analysis.
While hormone replacement decreases hip fractures and colon cancer, it slightly increases the chance of heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer.
Despite those findings, many women vowed to stick with hormone replacement because they felt it helps their memory and mood and generally made them think and feel better. The new report rejects that contention, too.
“There is a myth that hormone therapy improves quality of life, even in women without menopausal symptoms. This study dispels the myth,” said Dr. JoAnn Manson of Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Experts now say the hormones’ only acceptable use is for the short-term relief of severe menopausal symptoms.