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Doctors Look for Alternatives for Treating Menopause

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Aired 10/5/09

The North American Menopausal Society met in San Diego to discuss alternatives hormone replacement therapy.

— The North American Menopausal Society met in San Diego to discuss alternatives hormone replacement therapy.

Women use hormone replacement therapy to counteract the hot flashes and bone loss that come with menopause. But the therapy can increase the risk of breast and lung cancer. That's why Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, the president of the menopause society, says doctors are starting to use what's called the selective estrogen receptor module.

"It has the potential to be how we treat symptomatic menopausal women instead of hormone therapy," she said.

The receptor modules don't pose the cancer risk that hormones do. Pinkerton says problem with the drugs is they don't treat hot flashes. And pairing them with estrogen, which does, may not be safe. In the meantime, Pinkerton says hormone replacement therapy isn't going away, nor should it. She says short-term use among women under 70 is still something she recommends to her patients.

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