Hormone Therapy Redeemed

After years of studies suggesting estrogen may have health risks for older women, the treatment for menopause is more or less back where it started

Stephen Smith / Getty

Aging is never easy, particularly during menopause. But for 30 years women could at least depend on estrogen and progestin supplements, a comforting hormonal hand to hold that would not only ease the uncomfortable symptoms of getting older but also keep skin supple and hair lustrous. Doctors even encouraged women well into their 70s to take the treatments, on the basis of studies showing that they protected against heart disease and cushioned bones against osteoporosis-related fractures.

It seemed almost too easy--and it was. In 2002 the quick pharmaceutical fix was all but snatched away when a large government study found that...

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