New international guidelines prove safety for women under 60
Hormone replacement therapy is a substitute for the oestrogen that the body has stopped producing. In this way it helps to reduce the short term symptoms of the menopause. Some of the short term symptoms of menopause include hot flushes, night sweats or loss of sleep quality.
Now Australian women seeking relief from the symptoms of menopause can draw strength from new international data showing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to be a safe and effective form of treatment.
“The updated guidelines will provide some reassurance to women who may have had concerns about the risks associated with HRT use,” Professor Alastair MacLennan, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide said.
The International Menopause Society is the leading world group in the research and study of menopause and ageing. The guidelines were issued by the International Menopause Society in April 2008.
“For any woman who is losing quality of life due to menopausal symptoms the use of HRT may be appropriate,” Professor MacLennan said. “There is also evidence that there may be additional benefits in terms of cardiovascular risk and bone density if HRT is commenced in early menopause.”
“The medical evidence shows that for women near menopause, starting HRT for the first time, there are few side effects if the HRT type, dose, route and length of therapy is tailored to the individual to ensure maximum benefit,” Professor MacLennan said.
The new guidelines also provide recommendations and cautions on the use of complementary medicine in the relief of menopausal symptoms, which according to Professor MacLennan have limited benefit.
“It is important that women take time with their doctor to discuss their options and the best way to manage their menopausal symptoms.”
Professor MacLennan recommends a 45-minute consultation with a doctor interested in women’s health to allow for a detailed discussion about treatment options and to adequately discuss the best approach for the management of menopause symptoms.
“Women who need more advice on menopause should ask for a referral to a menopause specialist or menopause clinic that can help you,” Professor MacLennan said.
Visit the Australasia Menopause Society website which has information will support women, and has lists of menopause clinics and health professionals who are members of this clinical scientific society and suggest issues to discuss with their doctor.