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Recent headlines have claimed hormone therapy use during menopause increases the risk of dementia. If you’re wondering whether this claim is true, and what the implications might mean for you, we understand! 

We took a deeper dive into the literature to evaluate fact from fiction – to equip you, as always, with the most up-to-date, evidence-based, information to satisfy all your healthcare needs.

  1. A recent Danish study by Pourhadi et al. looked at the association between hormone therapy use during menopause and the risk of developing dementia. The researchers also looked at specific characteristics, such as hormone therapy type, age at time of medication initiation, and duration of medication use, to explore which specific characteristics might be associated with the risk of developing dementia.
  1. The researchers claimed that with any length of hormone therapy use, the risk of dementia increased by 24%. This number, while seemingly alarming, doesn’t paint the entire picture. The demonstrated increase in risk cannot be applied to all populations, and confounding factors, such as underlying symptoms, conflate the true risk calculation. Importantly, the design of this study makes it difficult to establish a claim that one variable causes another (i.e. that hormone therapy use causes an increased risk in dementia). 
  1. While this data is similar to many prior studies that claim a positive link between hormone therapy use and dementia, the data is conflicting. Some studies have also shown hormone therapy to be protective against the development of dementia, while other studies show no association between the two variables.
  1. The takeaway: the decision to use hormone therapy during menopause should not be influenced by this data, in isolation. Developing dementia may be considered a multifactorial phenomenon and there are many other factors that may contribute to this condition.

As always, the decision to use hormone therapy is individual specific. At HerMD, we partner with you in your healthcare, and we are able to offer a profile of individualized hormone-based treatment options to you based on your unique health profile, if you are deemed a suitable  candidate for hormone therapy. 

Prior to initiating hormone therapy, we will conduct a thorough review of your personal and family health history, the severity of symptoms you are experiencing, calculate your specific risk for developing certain medical conditions, and prior use of hormone therapy.  We continue to monitor you with careful surveillance follow-up visits and listen to your feedback regarding treatment.

This approach ensures your clinical outcomes are maximized and any potential risks are minimized. Hormone therapy is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach, and we at HerMD utilize this framework in our approach to treatment offerings.

Michael Krychman, MDCM

Dr. Michael Krychman is a Board Certified OBGYN and an AASECT Certified Sexual Counselor and Supervisor. He specializes in menopausal health, hormone therapy, sexual pain disorders, vulvar disorders and loss of libido, chronic medical illness, and medical devices and their impact on female sexual function.

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