News Health/Medical Long-Term Follow-Up of Women's Health Study
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Hormone replacement therapy

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Long-Term Follow-Up Reports Key Findings and Clinical Messages from Largest Study of Women's Health in the U.S.

May 1, 2024

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and other experts have conducted a long-term follow-up of the largest study of women's health in the U.S., providing valuable insights into postmenopausal health. Here are the key findings:

Menopausal Hormone Therapy (HT)

Based on data from The Women's Health Initiative (WHI), younger women (below age 60) had lower rates of adverse events and a more favorable benefit-to-risk ratio of HT than women in later menopause. While HT should not be used to prevent heart disease, stroke, dementia, or other chronic diseases, it remains an FDA-approved treatment for moderate-to-severe hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

Women now have more options for treatment, including lower-dose estrogen delivered through patches or gels.

Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements

WHI results do not support routinely recommending calcium and vitamin D supplements for fracture prevention in all postmenopausal women. However, these supplements are appropriate for women who do not meet national guidelines for dietary intake of these nutrients.

Low-Fat Dietary Pattern

A low-fat dietary pattern with increased fruit, vegetable, and grain intake did not reduce the risk of breast or colorectal cancer. However, it was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer mortality more than a decade after the trial ended. Women seeking to reduce these risks may consider this dietary approach.

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