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"Estrogen will save your life! Estrogen will kill you! It's a natural fountain of youth! It's an insidious drug! You've probably heard all these messages delivered with apparent sincerity by doctors, hucksters, scientists, famous talk show hosts, and celebrities of various pedigrees. No wonder you're confused." –The Menopause Book, by Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz
Your decision to take, or to not take, hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms may be one of the most difficult ones you face. As the authors of The Menopause Book put it, "Estrogen therapy is the most effective way to stop hot flashes and help thinning bones. But the bulk of research also indicates that long-term use increases your risk for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. That means that taking hormones may offer more benefits than risks at one age, but could be dangerous later on. There are a few women who may need to take estrogen for the rest of their lives and many more who are better off avoiding it all together."
How to decide? One place to start is this Decision Point: Should I Use Hormone Replacement Therapy? It was developed by our medical content provider, Healthwise, and all the information in it is up-to-date and medically reviewed. You'll be guided through six fields which give you key information, walk you through all the options available, and, perhaps most important, take into account your own feelings. Rather than making a decision for you, it helps you uncover your own decision. You may want to go through the process more than once, to see if your decision changes as you learn more about the science--and yourself.