Re: "Menopause Without Pills: Rethinking Hot Flashes" front page, November 10, 2002
It is inappropriate to apply the findings in the Women's Health Initiative to withhold treatment for the symptoms of menopause.
Women in the WHI were, on the average, more than a decade older (63.2 years) than most women on HRT and, sadly, unhealthy. They were overweight; 50% were smokers or had smoked; and a third had high blood pressure.
All of these factors put them at higher risk for all the conditions found to occur.
Women would do better to watch their weight, treat their blood pressure and stop smoking to avoid heart attacks than worry about the small risks found in the WHI. These small risks do not justify abandoning treatment of menopausal symptoms.
Michelle P Warren, M.D.
Medical Director, Center for Menopause Hormonal Disorders and Women’s Health
Columbia University Medical Center