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Feature Article

HT – is it for me?

Pat Phillips, Joy Gailer

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Abstract

A woman considering starting or stopping HT is likely to have many questions to ask of her GP. Ideally she should make her own informed choice about using HT, basing this on an assessment of the potential benefits and risks likely to affect her.

Key Points

  • The major reason for which women start HT is to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
  • Many resources are available to help women and health practitioners in their assessment of individual absolute benefit and risk from HT, depending on the goal of the treatment.
  • There is no evidence that HT schedules different to those used in WHI are, or are not, associated with the same risks and benefits as those used in the WHI.
  • Women wishing to stop using HT can stop or taper therapy. Those who suffer from troublesome symptoms may wish to consider alternatives to HT.
  • Alternatives for the benefits of HT include certain complementary and alternative therapies, vaginal oestrogen creams or pessaries, calcium and vitamin D supplements, bone mineral density monitoring and colorectal cancer screening.
  • Avoiding hot environments, hot drinks and spicy foods, and using meditation and relaxation techniques and cognitive behaviour therapy can also be helpful for symptom control.

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