A government task force is reinforcing a recommendationthat hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should not be used in postmenopausal women for the prevention of chronic conditions such as heart disease, fractures and dementia.
In 2012, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said the risks of HRT (involving estrogen, progestin or both) outweighed the benefits. While the task force found that estrogen and progestin after menopause can reduce risk of fractures, they also foundthat the combination can increase the risk of breast cancer, stroke, blood clots, gallbladder disease, dementia and urinary incontinence.
The USPSTF also found that taking estrogen alone after menopause — a choice only for women who have had a hysterectomy — reduces the risk of fractures, as well as breast cancer. However, estrogen-only therapy can increase the risk of stroke, blood clots, gallbladder disease and urinary incontinence.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend against the use of hormone therapy for prevention of coronary heart disease. The American Academy of Family Physicians also recommends against the use of hormone therapy for prevention of any chronic condition.