In one episode of "That '70s Show," the mom, Kitty, is going through menopause. So Dad and his son, Eric, decide to look up menopause in the encyclopedia.
"Oh, no! Look at the symptoms," says Eric. "Temperamental behavior, mood swings, facial hair ... Dad, I think you have menopause!"
Menopause symptoms may be fodder for comedy, but they're not funny when you experience them.
That's why by the late 1980s, many postmenopausal women were prescribed long-term hormone therapy. Several studies had shown it protects against post-menopausal heart disease, cools hot flashes, and eases vaginal dryness.
Then in 2002, a study found that hormone therapy boosted the risk of breast cancer, deep vein thrombosis, and stroke, outweighing benefits.
That left women looking for other solutions.
But we've long said that using hormone therapy is safe for most women if it’s done right — for five years or less right after menopause and always with 81-162 mg of aspirin daily.
Now a large study by Cedars-Sinai has found that women who received hormone therapy averaged 20 percent less arterial plaque buildup, and were 30 percent less likely to die from all causes during the study.
A recent Cochrane Review confirmed that short-term use of low-dose hormone therapy may override the "small absolute risk of harm" if not contraindicated.
Our calculations show that, when taken with aspirin, hormone therapy confers substantial benefit, not small harm.
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