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Hormone replacement makes sense for some menopausal women

A reanalysis says hormones are worth a second look for younger women dealing with hot flashes and night sweats

By
2:00pm, January 9, 2018
illustration of a woman

MENOPAUSE HEATS UP  Sixteen years ago, study results pushed hormone replacement therapy out of favor as a remedy for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. A new look at the data says some women could still benefit.

Internist Gail Povar has many female patients making their way through menopause, some having a tougher time than others. Several women with similar stories stand out in her mind. Each came to Povar’s Silver Spring, Md., office within a year or two of stopping her period, complaining of frequent hot flashes and poor sleep at night. “They just felt exhausted all the time,” Povar says. “The joy had kind of gone out.”

And all of them “were just absolutely certain that they were not going to take hormone replacement,” she says. But the women had no risk factors that would rule out treating their symptoms with hormones. So Povar suggested the women try hormone therapy for a few months. “If you feel really better and it makes a big difference in your life, then you and I can decide how long we continue it,” Povar told them. “And if it doesn’t make any difference to you, stop it.”

At the follow-up

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