Let's consider the timeline.
In 2002 a medical research team issued a report saying hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increased the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as strokes. Not to be outdone, a second group of researchers announced this month they believe the first study was flawed, and that HRT is quite safe for treatment of early menopause for women 50 to 59. Not wanting to leave any stone of confusion unturned, a third group of scientists, a few days after the second group, said that HRT is indeed dangerous; they claim it significantly increases the risk of blood clots.
If you're not confused by now, it's likely you have little grasp on reality.
French researchers conducted the latest study and reported the results in the British Medical Journal. The researchers completed a review of 17 previous studies, known as a meta-analysis, on HRT.
Their findings indicate the risk of blood clots increases for women on HRT. This is especially true during the first year of treatment. How serious is it? The scientists found the risk of blood clots was 2 to 3 times greater. That's a big difference.
Now, let's add a bit more confusion.
Other experts, commenting on the latest findings, say the risk is still too small to cause real concern. Even at 2 to 3 times the increased risk, they say the overall risk is so slight it should not prevent women from using hormone replacement therapy.
Now, for a possible touch of clarity. The French researchers also found that women receiving HRT through a patch, instead of orally, did not show the same increased risk. They hypothesize this may be due to the manner in which the hormone is metabolized. When taken orally, the liver is responsible for processing the therapy, and this may increase the clotting risk. When delivered by a patch, the HRT bypasses the liver.
So, if you're still not totally confused-congratulations. You have an unshakable grasp on your own alternate reality.To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read about complimentary and alternative treatments for menopause, see this from WebMD.