- Resources for Patients
- The Endocrine System
- What is an Endocrinologist?
- What Do Hormones Do?
- Endocrine Diseases and Conditions
- Myth vs. Fact
- Downloadable Resources
- Cooking for Pleasure and Health
- Menopause Map
- Living Your Best Life with Diabetes
- Resources for Health Professionals
- En Español
- Endocrinology: Science & Policy
Menopause Map & Understanding Menopausal Hormone Therapy
New Recommendations on Hormone Therapy
The United States Preventive Services Task Force released new recommendations on October 22, 2012 about the use of hormone therapy to treat chronic diseases in women. The Endocrine Society provides clarification on these recommendations in this statement from President William Young, MD.
The Menopause Map and Your Journey
Women who are going through menopause may have symptoms like hot flashes, waking up during the night and vaginal dryness. For most women, adjusting to menopause takes time. Menopause symptoms are different for each woman and your journey through this process will be unique. The Menopause Map will help guide you through your individual journey. The map is a resource for you and your primary care provider or ob/gyn to use in discussing whether menopausal hormone therapy is a good choice for you.
Below are links to "risk factor" questionnaires that will help you assess your current risks for breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. It is important to determine your risks for these conditions before starting any type of menopause treatment. These tools are not meant for you to diagnose yourself, but to give you information to discuss with your health care provider.
If you decide to take hormone therapy, consider healthy lifestyle changes as well. Taking good care of yourself could help your menopausal symptoms as well as your long-term health.
Finally, most women aged 60 and older should probably not start hormone therapy. Younger women with severe menopausal symptoms are the best candidates for hormone therapy.
Once you've traveled to the end of the map, print the answers out, take them with you when you see your health care provider, and work together as you decide whether hormone therapy makes sense for you. Even after you make your decision, it might take some time to find the right menopuase treatment for you. Be sure to use the map annually to see how your risks, benefits, and preferences might have changed. This is an ongoing process!
WHI: A Study of Hormone Therapy
In 2002, a large study called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) reported that hormone therapy increased the risk for blood clots, stroke, breast cancer, and heart attacks. The researchers stopped the study and concluded that the risks of hormone therapy outweighed the benefits.
The WHI tested whether hormone therapy could prevent age-related health problems like heart disease, bone loss, or colon cancer in women who were 50 to 79 years old. It did not consider the benefits of relief from menopause symptoms in women close to menopause. Health care providers already knew that hormone therapy could help hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
While it is true that hormone therapy carries some risks, the WHI report led many women to think that these risks were much more of a threat to health than they actually are. The level of risk depends on the individual woman and the number of years since menopause. In general, younger women who are closer to menopause are at lower risk than older women are.
Risk Factors Questionnaires