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Hormone Replacement Therapy: Benefits, Risks, and Options

Tori Hudson, ND

By the year 2015, nearly 50% of women in the United States will be menopausal. Between 1990 and 2020, the menopausal population in the US will double. This dramatic increase in the number of menopausal women is changing the way healthcare providers work with women and changing medicine itself. At no other time in history have we had so many individuals dealing with the same set of healthcare issues. Now more than ever, clinicians have options for the management of menopause: diet, exercise, stress management, nutrition, botanicals, natural hormones, conventional hormones, and additional pharmaceuticals.

One of the most complicated and difficult healthcare decisions that menopausal women face today is whether or not to use hormone replacement therapy. Women look to their healthcare providers for definitive answers to their questions. Practitioners are faced with an even greater challenge, evaluating the benefits and risks of conventional hormone replacement therapy (cHRT) or natural hormone replacement therapy (nHRT) for an individual patient. This Commentary reviews the benefits and risks of postmenopausal hormone therapy, discusses the role of bio-identical natural hormones, and tries to offer some insight into the complicated world of hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women.

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