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Mymensingh Med J. 2005 Jul;14(2):212-8.

Evaluation of hormone replacement therapy.

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Endocrinology, Mymensingh Medical College, Mymensingh.


Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), once considered as the gold standard of treatment of menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis, introduced about seventy years ago still continuing with lot of controversies. Menopause, a transitional period of women's life, is not an illness when oestrogen level falls leading to its consequences. Results of earlier observational studies showed beneficial effects of HRT including cardiovascular protection. But all recent randomized controlled trials have failed to prove these positive effects, rather increases the cardiovascular risk and breast cancer. Women's Health Initiative(WHI), one of the recent randomized controlled trials was stopped prematurely in 2002 due to unfavorable risk-benefit ratio. HRT is not the only way of treating the menopausal symptoms and other consequences of estrogen deficiency. There are suitable alternatives without bearing the risk of HRT. Vasomotor symptoms with hot flushes and sweating experienced by about 75 percent of menopausal women can be treated with alternatives like phyto-estrogens, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), clonidine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, acupuncture, exercise, behavioral therapy etc. HRT is no longer considered as the first line of treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. It can be treated with alternatives like regular weight bearing exercise, balanced calcium rich diet, maintaining weight, avoidance of bone robbers, (like excess alcohol, caffeine, smoking), use of SERMs etc. Use of HRT should be individualized and rationalized considering its risks and benefits.

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