Menopause: Is there a revival of hormone therapy?

Whether we are full of energy, sleep in or through the night without any problems and have youthful, firm skin does not depend solely on our lifestyle. Hormones also play an important role. However, there is still no unanimous opinion on who should take hormones during menopause, when and for how long. We asked experts such as the endocrinologist Professor Johannes Huber and the gynecologist Dr. Sheila de Liz.

In the past, until 2002 to be precise, everything seemed quite simple: If the first heat wave during menopause rolled over you, you went to the doctor and got hormones by prescription. The so-called hormone replacement therapy, also called HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), was virtually the miracle cure for all menopausal complaints and was also supposed to ensure plump skin and beautiful hair.

Study on menopause causes uncertainty

Then, in 2002, came the disillusionment: more and more doctors warned against hormone replacement therapy during menopause. The discussion was triggered by the largest hormone replacement therapy study to date, conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) in the USA with more than 161,000 participants. Up to this point, it was assumed, for example, that the relative risk of heart attacks would be reduced by hormone replacement, but according to the study, the opposite was true. Long-term use for ten years would also increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer, according to the WHI. No wonder, then, that doctors and those affected were more than unsettled.

Today, the situation looks different: Hormone replacement therapy during menopause is experiencing a revival, so to speak. Recent studies and new evaluations of the old WHI data have rehabilitated HRT. For example, the study primarily examined women with a high health risk, and all women received the same preparation in a relatively high dosage. A pill that, moreover, was hardly used in Europe.

“In modern hormone replacement therapy, hormone doses are always individually adjusted and people have not been prescribing one-size-fits-all pills for a long time,” postulates Viennese endocrinologist Professor Johannes Huber. Sheila de Liz, a gynecologist with a practice in Wiesbaden, Germany, and author of a book, also notes, “Today, no doctor would think of automatically administering hormone replacement to all women according to the watering-can principle during menopause.”

Hormone replacement therapy: individual and flexible

Instead, she recommends targeted therapies based on the symptoms and blood levels during menopause. The goal, she says, is always to restore the natural situation in the body. “That’s why regular hormonal support and monitoring is so important. Because hormone requirements are also defined by our lifestyle. In periods of stress, the hormonal situation presents itself differently than in relaxed times.”

Photo: Anna Shvets/Pexels

On 11/16/20, you can learn how safe hormone replacement therapy is today.