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A major study called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) has explored the benefits and risks of menopausal hormone therapy. It has looked at many issues relating to MHT, including whether the health effects are different depending on when a woman starts MHT. Learn more about research results from WHI and other studies.
Some women can use menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) to help control the symptoms of menopause. MHT, which used to be called hormone replacement therapy (HRT), involves taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone. (Women who don't have a uterus anymore take just estrogen.)
MHT can be very good at helping with moderate to severe symptoms of the menopausal transition and preventing bone loss. But MHT also has some risks, especially if used for a long time.
MHT can help with menopause by:
For some women, MHT may increase their chances of:
Research into the risks and benefits of MHT continues. For example, a recent study suggests that the low-dose patch form of MHT may not have the possible risk of stroke that other forms can have. Talk with your doctor about the positives and negatives of MHT based on your medical history and age. Keep in mind, too, that you may have symptoms when you stop MHT. You also can talk with your doctor about treatments other than MHT that can help deal with specific symptoms on our Menopause symptom relief and treatments page or prevent bone loss.
Keep in mind when considering MHT that:
MHT can cause side effects. Call your doctor if you develop any of these problems:
Content last updated: September 22, 2010.
Resources last updated: September 29, 2010.