An international group of menopause experts has revealed that use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is safe for healthy women entering menopause.
Previous studies from Women's Health Initiative (WHI) had revealed that women taking HRT were at a greater risk of developing breast cancer and heart disease.
Though certain types of HRT (combined oestrogen and progesterone) can lead to a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. However, this is minimal in relation to other breast cancer risk factors.
However, global experts concluded that women taking HRT to relieve symptoms should have no fears about its use.
The experts reviewed the evidence on the safety, risks and benefits of HRT in the first few years of the menopause, looking at 4 main areas of controversy including cardiovascular health, breast issues, cognition, and bone issues.
Summit members compared public perception with actual safety, and are now issuing a state-of-the science summary, to enable women and clinicians to make informed judgements about whether or not to use HRT in early menopause.
The study also concluded that combined oestrogen and progesterone do not increase chronic heart disease risk in healthy women aged 50-59; oestrogen alone actually decreases risk in this group.
HRT is effective in maintaining bone health in 50 to 59-year-old postmenopausal women.
The team also found that the hormone therapy does not impair cognition in healthy women aged 50-59, and may even delay the decrease of cognitive functions in this group.
President Professor Amos Pines (Tel-Aviv, Israel), one of the experts also said that this is a positive news about HRT in the early menopause years, between the ages of 50 and 59.
Dr Roger Lobo (Columbia University, New York), who was one of the US clinicians attending the Zurich Summit, said, "Each woman is an individual, and it's important that she comes to an agreement with her doctor about using HRT."
The findings were presented at the World Congress on the Menopause in Madrid.