HRT for menopause: is it safe?

HRT for menopause: is it safe?


Menopause is a time of significant hormonal changes which can lead to a range of symptoms that can severely impact quality of life for many women. So, a drug that promises to reduce these symptoms is incredibly welcome, but it has been steeped in controversy.

HRT (Hormone replacement therapy) has been widely debated, with conflicting information about its effectiveness, with some suggesting HRT is outright dangerous. In fact, a massive study twenty years ago linked it to an increased risk of breast cancer.  As a result, the numbers of women taking HRT plummeted. So should HRT be avoided at all costs? 

In today’s episode, Jonathan is joined by the author of that very study and esteemed Professor JoAnn Manson, alongside Dr. Sarah Berry to explore the science behind HRT.

Professor JoAnn Manson is a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the world's most experts on HRT and menopause having run multiple enormous studies to uncover the effects of hormone replacement therapy on women’s health.

With the help of ZOE regular Dr. Sarah Berry, they delve into the science behind HRT, empowering listeners to make informed decisions about treatment for symptoms of the menopause.

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00:00 Introduction

00:12 Jonathan's introduction

01:33 Quick Fire Questions

03:27 What is the menopause?

04:10 What is the perimenopause?

05:46 What is the state of the current conversation on the menopause?

07:13 Should women seek help about the menopause?

07:58 Why do some women have symptoms and others not?

09:15 Yougov and ZOE study results on the menopause

11:35 Why is the menopause getting more attention now?

13:39 Should we be taking these symptoms seriously?

17:10 What else can be done asides from HRT?

18:49 Studies on the relationship between diet and menopause symptoms

19:35 What can help alleviate symptoms?

21:23 Are there any specific foods that can help improve symptoms?

23:37 Are menopause specific supplements effective?

24:50 How does HRT work?

26:26 Is HRT just oestrogen?

30:59 Does testosterone have a use for menopause?

31:58 What is the controversy behind HRT?

35:56 What's the latest advice and health risks?

38:11 When should you stop hormone therapy?

40:43 Do symptoms persist when you come off of hormone therapy?

42:00 How long does HRT take to start working?

43:07 How does HRT affect weight management?

45:15 Summary

48:04 Goodbyes

48:25 Outro

Check the trials mentioned in today’s episode: 


ZOE Menopause Study:

PEPI Trial:

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