Whether or not to use hormones at menopause has been a confusing topic for many women for the past decade in the wake of a massive federal study called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). The study found that women who took estrogen and progestin had a higher risk of blood clots and breast cancer, among other health problems. But many women still want to try hormones for a short time if they are suffering from symptoms like hot flashes.
Last week, I wrote about new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which may help clarify the situation. Now, I'd like to highlight a resource from the Endocrine Society. It's called the Menopause Map and contains everything you need to know so that you and your doctor can make the smartest decision.
The map highlights the fact that taking hormone therapy is an individual decision. Before the WHI, doctors routinely prescribed hormones to most women at menopause because they thought estrogen could prevent heart disease. After the WHI, that practice largely stopped and hormone sales plummeted.
At the same time, there has been a disturbing rise in untested menopause cures often touted by celebrities or so-called experts with no medical or scientific background. It's important to note that these products - even when they're touted as natural - aren't necessarily any safer or more effective that prescription hormone products that have been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
How do you find your way through this maze? The Menopause Map is a good place to start. Try it out and let me know what you think.