Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

by Patricia Yarberry Allen, MD

Here we are again. Yet another study links the use of hormone replacement therapy in older women with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems and blood clots.

The new study, based on the results of the WISDOM trial involving women in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, was published in the July 11 online issue of the British Medical Journal. A companion editorial is available here.

"WISDOM confirms that there’s no justification for older women using hormones for prevention of heart disease," Dr. Wulf H. Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), told HealthDay News. "But for a generally healthy perimenopausal or early postmenopausal woman suffering from genuine menopause-related symptoms that are causing her distress, then hormones are the gold standard and are basically safe."

The study confirms the findings of the Women’s Health Initiative trial in the United States that found hormone therapy carries unacceptable risks for women who are older and several years post-menopausal.

As I’ve discussed before, the crucial question each woman must address is how disruptive are the menopause symptoms — and what effect do the symptoms have on her quality of life? The menopause transition registers barely a blip on the screen for some women, while others may find it disrupting their sleep or daily activities. If a woman is suffering, and a thoughtful analysis of her family and personal medical history indicates no unusual risk factors, then she can choose a low dose of hormone therapy and evaluate her response to this medical treatment.

The key, I always say, is the lowest possible dosage for the shortest possible time.

Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen, a WVFC founding member, is a gynecologist affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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