HOUSTON -- A new approach in hormone replacement therapy supposedly offers fewer health risks.

Hormone replacement therapy was the standard treatment for menopause for years until studies linked it to cancer, heart attacks, and more. But doctors are prescribing it again and feeling good about it.

In 2002 the Women s Health Initiative came out from the NIH and they showed those women who are on hormone replacement therapy for an extended period of time have an increase risk of breast cancer, and stroke, and heart attack. So, then we had to step back and say what do we need to do and how long do we need to do it, said Dr. Deanna McDonald.

Nearly ten years later, McDonald says doctors now use it readily for women who need it and put them on the lowest dose of hormones for the shortest amount of time.

For some ladies it truly makes a difference. It prevents divorce, it allows ladies to keep their jobs, it really is a very serious situation ladies have to go through during that period of their lifetime, she said.

The dosage is different for every woman, as for the type of hormone replacement therapy itself, that s more personal. A woman s options range from rings, creams, tablets, sprays and new and improved pills.

This is a hormone that is the exact hormone that our body produces. Traditionally the tablets that we had available were an estrogen-like hormone, but it wasn t exactly like what our bodies produced and pharmaceutically they ve been able to produce that now and ladies prefer a natural type of hormone replacement, versus something that may have been derived from horse s urine, which was the traditional way that estrogen was achieved, she explained.

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