Most advocates recommend taking HRT beginning when your periods become irregular and continuing throughout your life. At the least, you’d want to be covered during the ten-year period following menopause, when bone loss is the fastest. (Women who have their hormone-producing ovaries removed experience a similar rapid rate of bone loss for four to six years after surgery.) If you start taking HRT after you’ve reached menopause, you’ll still benefit, but your overall results will never be as good as if you had started a little before your last period. Impressive results have been proven after just six months of using HRT. But short-term use of HRT, while it may relieve your most troublesome menopausal symptoms as your body transitions, will not give you any of the major benefits of long-term use. In fact, when you stop taking hormones, bone loss starts up again right away. Within seven years (or sooner, depending on how long you’ve been on HRT), your bones will be the same as those of a woman similar to you who never took hormones.
On the other hand, even women over 70 who have never before taken hormone replacement can benefit from starting on estrogen, as can women who already have osteoporosis (particularly when used in conjunction with one of the therapies described in the next chapter). In fact, some studies show the best results in women the farthest past menopause (setting aside the group that hands down does the best: those who take it immediately upon reaching menopause). After age 65, most breast cancers that occur are less influenced by estrogen levels generally, and so will be less affected by the taking of estrogen supplements. So once you are far enough past menopause, your personal calculus of the risks and benefits of HRT may change. If you’ve avoided HRT to that point, but find you are still at high risk, you may want to reconsider.
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This entry was posted on Sunday, July 17th, 2011 at 2:32 pm and is filed under Healthy bones Osteoporosis Rheumatic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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