How to live longer: This menopause treatment can cut your risk of dying by 9%

Lisa Snowdon details the symptoms of her early menopause

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A new study from the University of East Anglia has discovered that taking combined hormone replacement therapy can cut the overall risk of dying by nine percent. For women taking oestrogen-only therapy, the risk remains neutral.

Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment available in the UK to relieve menopause symptoms.

It helps by replacing hormones that are at a lower level as you start approaching menopause.

The new study published in An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology looks at the impact of hormone replacement therapy on life expectancy.

It followed more than a hundred thousand healthy women between the ages 46 to 65 at first hormone replacement therapy prescription over up to 32 years.

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After, it compared the data with more than two hundred women of the same age without the therapy.

The findings suggest that combined hormone replacement therapy can boost longevity for healthy women.

Combined therapy -as the name suggests- combines oestrogen and progestogen.

According to the NHS, most women take this option.

This new study was adjusted for various factors including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease and oophorectomy or hysterectomy status.

They also considered body mass index, smoking and deprivation status.

The majority of other studies are usually adjusted just for demographic and lifestyle factors.

This research comes as Labour MP Carolyn Harris is introducing a private member’s bill to change legislation so that women in England would not have to pay for hormone replacement therapy.

Louise Pryor, the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) that commissioned the study, said: “This study supports the emerging consensus that, for most women, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy outweigh the harm. 

“We hope this research will help to inform the debate as the private member’s bill is considered in Parliament and also, support women deciding whether to start or continue with hormone replacement therapy.”

Like with any medicine, there are some possible side effects of hormone replacement therapy.

However, the NHS states they will usually pass within three months of starting the therapy.

Some of the common side effects include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Feeling sick
  • Indigestion
  • Tummy pain
  • Vaginal bleeding.

Nick Steel, Clinical Professor in Public Health, Norwich Medical School, said about the study: “Hormone replacement therapy use has been controversial for many years, as it offers symptomatic relief to many women but there have been conflicting reports about the long-term risk of breast cancer.

“UK primary care data has now enabled long-term follow-up of thousands of women comparing the overall risk of death over many years for those using hormone replacement therapy with those not using it.”

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