National Women's Health Network Clarifies Menopause Study

April 10, 2007

A new study (PDF) found that hormone therapy may pose less of a risk of coronary heart disease if taken by women in their 50s or within 10 years of starting menopause. But for women in their 60s and 70s, hormone therapy is still believed to increase the risk of heart disease.

The new analysis was published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It builds on the research gathered during the Women’s Health Initiative study.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal published very different stories on the latest research. The WSJ played it up on page one, under the headline “New Study Reassures Most Users of Hormones” (subscriber only), while the Times ran a more cautious story on page A10, “Health Risk to Older Women Is Seen in Hormone Therapy.”

Wading through all the hormone research can be a confusing — and frustrating — endeavor. The National Women’s Health Network has done an excellent job of summarizing the most recent study and discussing what it means for women in the menopausal transition. The NWHN statement also notes the various ways in which the new analysis has either confirmed or left unaffected previous WHI conclusions.

For more information, check out the “Our Bodies, Ourselves” section on menopause and hormone therapy, as well as our general resources on midlife and menopause.