Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation vol:56 issue:1 pages:43-50
The long-awaited results of the large Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial on the effects of combined estrogen-progestin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in postmenopausal women show that the overall benefits are smaller than the risks. Herein I argue that many of the findings could be predicted from earlier observational studies. Although the WHI trial will rightly reverse the soaring HRT use of the last decades, there is unquestionably a future for HRT. A consensus is growing that postmenopausal women may be treated with HRT only when seeking help for disturbing symptoms of the ovarian hormone insufficiency syndrome, rather than be treated for menopause per se. The ovarian hormone insufficiency syndrome comprises conditions of estrogen and/or androgen insufficiency; at this time, the diagnosis of these clinical entities is based largely on symptomatology. Future research should disclose why the deprivation of ovarian hormones has a variable impact on women's functioning, and further trials ought to reveal effective and safe treatments for women suffering from this syndrome.