Women’s Health Initiative (WHI)

The Women’s Health Initiative is a long-term national health study focused on women. In 2002, the WHI released a report stating that Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT (now called Menopause Hormone Therapy or MHT) increased a woman’s risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. The WHI has since clarified its findings. Its initial study focused solely on older women but its results were mistakenly applied to women of all ages. As a result, doctors stopped prescribing hormone therapy, believing it to be dangerous. Having subsequently analyzed the findings in terms of age, the WHI now says younger women may benefit from hormone therapy, but that this course of treatment should be an individualized decision based on a woman’s health profile, including age, symptoms, and family history.