A review from the Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) states that the benefits of hormone replacement therapy do not outweigh the risks. The panel said that hormone replacement therapy could elevate the risk of certain health conditions, like stroke.

The independent panel of experts reviewed 50 studies published over the last ten years. The articles examined the use of estrogen-progestin therapy and estrogen by itself for the treatment of dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases. The panel said that, although hormone replacement therapy may have some benefit against osteoporosis, it may raise patients' risk for serious diseases. The diseases include strokes, gallbladder disease, urinary incontinence, breast cancer, and blood clots in the lungs and limbs. Estrogen alone may raise the risk for dementia, the panel says. It does not appear that hormone replacement therapy holds any preventative benefits against heart disease and, in fact, the therapy may actually raise the risk.

Hormone replacement therapy used to be a commonly prescribed treatment for postmenopausal women at risk for chronic conditions, like osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. But in 2002 the Women's Health Initiative study was published, stating that the use of such therapies put women at risk for various health issues. Since then, the prescription of hormone replacement therapy has substantially declined.

The study conflicts directly with a recent study that made headlines earlier this month, published in the British Medical Journal. That study by Danish researchers found that hormone replacement therapy could lower women's risk for heart failure, heart attacks, and death. The study also found that the therapy did not elevate women's risk for cancer, stroke, or deep vein thrombosis. Researchers suggested that previous studies may have had their results skewed by examining women who had begun hormone replacement therapy several years after becoming postmenopausal.

The review from the USPSTF did not address that, nor did it address the use of hormone replacement therapy for short time periods to address specific symptoms, like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Doctors say that the USPSTF's recommendations are within current practices, as most doctors who prescribe the therapy do so for short-term use, and prescribe the lowest possible dosages to which their patients respond. The guidelines are also in line with that of other influential organizations, like the American Heart Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.A review from the Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) states that the benefits of hormone replacement therapy do not outweigh the risks. The panel said that hormone replacement therapy could elevate the risk of certain health conditions, like stroke.

The independent panel of experts reviewed 50 studies published over the last ten years. The articles examined the use of estrogen-progestin therapy and estrogen by itself for the treatment of dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases. The panel said that, although hormone replacement therapy may have some benefit against osteoporosis, it may raise patients' risk for serious diseases. The diseases include strokes, gallbladder disease, urinary incontinence, breast cancer, and blood clots in the lungs and limbs. Estrogen alone may raise the risk for dementia, the panel says. It does not appear that hormone replacement therapy holds any preventative benefits against heart disease and, in fact, the therapy may actually raise the risk.

Hormone replacement therapy used to be a commonly prescribed treatment for postmenopausal women at risk for chronic conditions, like osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. But in 2002 the Women's Health Initiative study was published, stating that the use of such therapies put women at risk for various health issues. Since then, the prescription of hormone replacement therapy has substantially declined.

The study conflicts directly with a recent study that made headlines earlier this month, published in the British Medical Journal. That study by Danish researchers found that hormone replacement therapy could lower women's risk for heart failure, heart attacks, and death. The study also found that the therapy did not elevate women's risk for cancer, stroke, or deep vein thrombosis. Researchers suggested that previous studies may have had their results skewed by examining women who had begun hormone replacement therapy several years after becoming postmenopausal.

The review from the USPSTF did not address that, nor did it address the use of hormone replacement therapy for short time periods to address specific symptoms, like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Doctors say that the USPSTF's recommendations are within current practices, as most doctors who prescribe the therapy do so for short-term use, and prescribe the lowest possible dosages to which their patients respond. The guidelines are also in line with that of other influential organizations, like the American Heart Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.