Menopause

Updated 18 February 2016

Who can benefit from HT?

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Not all menopausal women need hormone therapy (HT). Only one in four experience symptoms so severe they need treatment. Secondly, not all women are suitable candidates for HT.

You may be one of the women to benefit from HT if:

- Your menopause started recently, you are younger than 60 years and suffer severely from hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. 

- Your menopause started recently, you are younger than 60 years and suffer severely from hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms, and are at risk for hip fractures. You may benefit from HT combined with anti-osteoporosis drugs. 

- You suffer from premature menopause (before 45 years of age). This should be treated to prevent the changes that occur due to the lack of hormones happening too early. Studies show that this prolonged exposure to hormones does not increase breast cancer risk or any other risks (besides clots). Once the natural age of the menopause is reached, the risks are the same as for any other woman. 

Who should NOT take hormone therapy? 

Women with:

- A personal or family history of blood clots, stroke or breast cancer. 

- older than 60 and who had never taken HT before. 

- A family history of breast cancer or a personal history of breast lump should not take combined oestrogen and progestin therapy. 

- With a family or personal history of or increased risk for heart disease, stroke, deep vein thrombosis or hypertension. 

- elevated cholesterol or lipid levels. Talk to your doctor about statins as studies show women are under-treated in this regard.   

Read more: 

Treating menopause 

Causes of menopause 

Symptoms of menopause 

Reviewed and updated by Dr Dr Carol Thomas MBChB (UCT) FCOG (SA) MMed (O&G) (UCT), Specialist Gynaecologist in private practice, Cape Town, Secretary South African Menopause Society and Director of the WomanSpace. March 2015.

(Previously reviewed by Dr Mike Davey, President of the South African Menopause Society, and Prof B. Schaetzing MD, FCOG (SA), FRCOG, PhD. Part-time Consultant, Dept of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch)