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DENVER — Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT,  can be a woman’s best friend when she is going through menopause.

The drugs can take away hot flashes and other symptoms.  In the past, HRT was said to be  dangerous for many women, but a new study says it is safer than once thought.

Seventy-five percent of menopausal women experience hot flashes and most have a hard time sleeping through the night. This all happens as a result of a drop in estrogen levels.

HRT was designed to restore that estrogen, which eases the symptoms and can even guard against heart disease.  In 2002 HRT was found to raise the risk of serious health problems in women in their 60s or older.

Now a new study involving women just entering menopause shows HRT  may be an option after all.

“When they went back and looked at the women who are within 5 years of menopause which is typically at age 51,  they found that that subgroup..actually had a decreased risk of heart disease,  breast cancer and stroke,” Dr. Andrew Ross of Mountain Vista OB/GYN and Midwifery and the Swedish Medical Center explained.

Today, there are also newer, safer ways of getting the hormones into the bloodstream including patches , gels and lotions that allow the medication to bypass the liver.

While this  is  good news for many women who want the benefits of HRT, doctors warn that it’s still not an option for every woman.  Many women with a family history of breast cancer or heart problems may be at risk if they take HRT.  Your doctor will be able to make the best decision for your good health.

See more information about HRT.