Menopause is the time in a woman's life when her period stops. It is a normal part of aging. In the years before and during menopause, the levels of female hormones can go up and down. This can cause symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Some women take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), also called menopausal hormone therapy, to relieve these symptoms. HRT may also protect against osteoporosis.
However, HRT also has risks. It can increase your risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Certain types of HRT have a higher risk, and each woman's own risks can vary depending upon her health history and lifestyle. You and your health care provider need to discuss the risks and benefits for you. If you do decide to take HRT, it should be the lowest dose that helps and for the shortest time needed. Taking hormones should be re-evaluated every six months.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Treatments and Therapies
- Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- Time to Talk: 4 Things to Know about Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- Bioidentical Hormones and Menopause (Hormone Health Network) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Hormone Replacement Therapy and Your Heart (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Hormone Replacement Therapy: Can It Cause Vaginal Bleeding? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Is it Safe to Take Hormones to Treat Menopause Symptoms? (Consumers Union of U.S., National Center for Farmworker Health) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Cancer (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Menopause: Medicines to Help You (Food and Drug Administration)
- What You Should Know about Hormone Therapy Health Risks and Benefits (North American Menopause Society) - PDF
- Menopausal Hormone Therapy for the Primary Prevention of Chronic Conditions (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) - PDF
Statistics and Research
- Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices: What the Science Says (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Cardiovascular disease in women, is it different to men? The...
- Article: The evidence base for HRT: what can we believe?
- Article: The endometrial and breast safety of menopausal hormone therapy containing...
- Hormone Replacement Therapy -- see more articles
- Estrogen-progestin replacement therapy -- see more articles