- South Korean researchers say benefits of HRT generally outweigh risks
- Women on HRT were more likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- The team said there was no significant risk and their findings should reduce concern
Scientists say that post-menopausal women who take HRT do not have a higher risk of developing heart disease.
Hormone replacement therapy helps relieve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, night sweats, and mood swings.
Experts have debated the pros and cons of HRT for years, with some studies warning that it can lead to heart disease.
But now a study has quelled the fears, ruling that women taking the drugs are no more likely to develop killer conditions.
South Korean researchers say the benefits of HRT — usually given in tablets, gels and patches — usually outweigh the risks.
HRT tablets (pictured) work by replacing sex hormones that decrease during menopause and improve the symptoms of menopause, which 80 percent of women suffer from.
Everything you need to know about menopause
Menopause occurs when a woman stops menstruating naturally and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
This is a normal part of aging and usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 when levels of a woman’s sex hormone estrogen drop.
Eight out of 10 women will experience menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety, and problems with memory.
Women are advised to see their GP if their symptoms are difficult to manage.
Treatments that doctors may provide include hormone replacement therapy, such as pills, skin patches, and gels that replace estrogen.
Menopause is when a woman stops having periods, so she is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
Researchers from Seoul National University analyzed data from 58,000 menopausal women.
Their health records were then compared to those of a group of 50,000 women who were not taking drugs.
The results showed that women on HRT were slightly more likely to develop heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes.
But the team, whose findings were published in the journal Menopause, concluded there was no significant risk.
Writing in the paper, the experts said: ‘Hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms.
‘[However] Menopausal women are hesitant to start MHT due to concerns about adverse events.’
He added: ‘Our results may contribute to alleviating current concerns about the use of hormone therapy.’
Dr. Stephanie Faubian, medical director of the North American Menopause Society, welcomed the findings.
She said: ‘These results are in line with our current understanding of the risks and benefits of hormone therapy.
‘The benefits generally outweigh the risks for women who start HRT under age 60 and within 10 years after menopause begins.’
It comes days after a study this week also ruled that the drugs do not increase the risk of dementia, debunking another fear.