But that all changed when a large clinical trial found the treatment actually posed more health risks than benefits. Now, more and more doctors are bringing the therapy back.
Cherie Mason's day starts with a good workout, but it wasn't that long ago the 60 year old didn't feel like herself. After a hysterectomy, menopause hit her at just 40 and depression set in.
"I just don't even want to be here anymore," Cherie told Action News.
Cherie's menopause caused her hormone count to plummet.
"Estrogen controls 400 different functions in our bodies," Jennifer Landa, M.D., Chief medical officer at BodylogicMD told Action News.
Hormone expert doctor Jennifer Landa recommended Cherie try something not so new, hormone replacement therapy.
"It helps them sleep better, helps them feel better, it helps them think better, it helps them look better," Dr. Landa said.
The therapy was the standard treatment for menopause symptoms for years, but that stopped when studies linked it to cancer, heart attacks and stroke.
"Hormone replacement has gotten very controversial," Dr. Landa said.
But, it's gaining popularity again, sometimes in lower doses. Critics have pointed out flaws in older research and several experts have changed their views, or concluded the warnings were over-generalized. A recent study shows women who start HRT before age 60 or within ten years of menopause have a lower risk of heart disease and overall mortality. The research shows for heart health, hormone therapy is more beneficial than statins or aspirin.
Dr. Landa says the key is personalized hormone treatment and while it might not work for everyone, it worked for Cherie. After starting HRT her symptoms disappeared in a few days.
"It was amazing, amazing," Cherie concluded.
So, does hormone replacement therapy help or is it hype? It's something each woman will have to decide for herself.
Hormones decline as we age naturally. Research by Johns Hopkins suggests postmenopausal women who want to use estrogen to reduce symptoms should not used it for more than five years.
For more information, contact:
Jennifer Landa, MD
Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD
(888)799-5821 ext. 4.