In developed countries, women spend more than one-third of their life in the menopause and at least half of them experience vasomotor symptoms that impair their normal function and well-being. Long-term estrogen replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogen can suppress typical menopausal symptoms and prevents osteoporosis. When estrogen-only HRT is started within 10 years after the menopause, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is reduced, mortality is lower, and the risk of breast cancer is not significantly increased. Postmenopausal genital and urinary problems with recurrent infections, incontinence, and dyspareunia can effectively be treated by vaginal application of estriol, which seems to be safe for women treated for breast cancer. HRT after the age of 60 years is associated with a lower number needed to treat than number needed to harm, implying that there would be one unfavorable side-effect for up to ten women experiencing a positive effect. However, further studies are needed regarding the risk-benefit ratio of HRT in women over 70 years. It is concluded that transdermal substitution therapy with estradiol may increase the number of quality-adjusted life years of postmenopausal women. The combination with nutriceutical food supplementation may add to this benefit, but complementary prospective trials are still needed.
Keywords: HERBAL PREPARATIONS; HORMONES; MENOPAUSE; NUTRICEUTICALS.