The optimal age for women to begin hormone replacement therapy varies depending on their specific health situation, but physicians suggest the treatment tends to be safer for women in their 40s or 50s than those who are older.
HRT treats menopause symptoms by regularly providing female hormones the body has stopped producing — such as testosterone, progesterone and estrogen — to stabilize and raise hormone levels, according to WebMD
. Various options are available, including patches, pills, creams and vaginal rings, that website said.
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Physician and TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz wrote at Sharecare
that he doesn’t have a “one-size-fits-all” solution for women facing symptoms of menopause. Because HRT can cause some potentially life-threatening problems, Oz said he’s particular about whom he prescribes it to, reserving it for women who are experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of menopause and can’t cope with their discomfort using other treatments.
Oz wrote that HRT “may actually be beneficial to their health in the long run” for women who enter menopause much earlier than the typical age range of 47 to 55. He added, “These women often take hormone therapy because their bodies will have been deprived of estrogen for a much longer period of time, and that can bring on a host of other health problems.”
But Oz added that estrogen therapy can increase a patient’s chances for breast cancer, heart attack, stroke and deep vein thrombosis, particularly for women who take it later in life. He wrote: “That means if a woman takes HRT 10 years or more after she starts menopause, the risks are much higher. So older women (women in their 60s) are taking more of a risk than younger women when starting hormone replacement therapy.”
Oz recommended that those who begin HRT work with their physician to evaluate their need for it every few months, so they’ll be able to “get weaned off it as soon as possible.”
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A similar opinion was expressed at Livescience by Neil Goodman
, professor of medicine at the University of Miami in Florida and chairman of the reproductive medicine committee of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Goodman said there are several circumstances in which women should consider it safe to begin HRT, adding, “That includes women who are obviously healthy and are newly menopausal, who are anywhere from late 40s to early 50s.”
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