by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM Press Release
An international group of organizations working in women’s health and menopause, including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), met in Paris in November 2012 and undertook a review of clinical guidelines on menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and the newest research on its safety and disease prevention.
In a statement to be published March 15 in the journals, Climacteric and Maturitas, the participants conclude that MHT is the most effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause, but that benefits are more likely to outweigh risks for symptomatic women before the age of 60 or within 10 years after menopause.
The statement gives a clear and concise summary of the known risks and benefits of MHT and who would likely benefit from it. Women are advised to only take MHT after discussing their individual health circumstances with their doctors.
The key conclusions are:
- The timing of MHT is important. Benefits derived from MHT will generally outweigh the risks for women under 60, or within 10 years of the menopause. The risks are acknowledged and are generally small.
- MHT is the most effective treatment for symptoms related to the hormonal changes of menopause, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances. MHT is also beneficial for bone health and may decrease mortality and cardiovascular disease.
- Taking MHT is a decision which needs to made in consultation with a qualified physician. It should be individualized, according to a woman’s symptoms and her individual health status. Factors to consider in addition to age and time since menopause are family history, general health, has she had a hysterectomy or not, and other personal risk factors, like risk of blood clots, stroke, heart disease, and breast cancer.
Roger Lobo, MD, a Past President of ASRM, remarked, “After a decade of confusion regarding the appropriate use of hormone therapy, respected women’s health groups from around the world have come to agreement on many important points. While this consensus document cannot replace the detailed clinical guidelines and recommendations published by individual societies, it will be valuable in informing women and their physicians on the most beneficial uses of hormone therapy.”
The following organizations participated in drawing up the consensus: The North American Menopause Society, the Asia-Pacific Menopause Federation, the European Menopause and Andropause Society, the Endocrine Society, the International Osteoporosis Foundation, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The International Menopause Society led and coordinated the meeting.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, founded in 1944, is an organization of more than 7,000 physicians, researchers, nurses, technicians and other professionals dedicated to advancing knowledge and expertise in reproductive biology. Affiliated societies include the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, the Society of Reproductive Surgeons and the Society of Reproductive Biologists and Technologists.