What are the threats of hormone therapy?

In the biggest clinical test to date, an estrogen-progestin pill combination (Prempro) increased the threat of certain severe conditions, including: blood clots, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and more.

A related clinical test evaluating only estrogen in women who earlier had a hysterectomy found no raised risk of heart disease or breast cancer. The risks of blood clots and stroke were parallel to this combination therapy.

Hormone replacement therapy, particularly estrogen with a progestin, can build your breasts look denser on mammograms, creating breast cancer more complex to identify. Also, particularly when taken for several years, hormone replacement therapy increases the threat of breast cancer, a result proved in multiple studies of various hormone therapy combinations, not only restricted to a estrogen-progestin pill combination (Prempro).

The threats of hormone replacement therapy may differ depending on if estrogen is given with a progestin or alone, and depending on your present age and age at the menopause, the type and dose of estrogen, and some other health threats such as your threats of blood and heart vessel (cardiovascular) disease, family medical history and cancer risks.

Blood Clots

Doctors have known that taking estrogen enhances a person's threat for blood clots. Usually, this threat is higher if you take birth control pills, which have high levels of estrogen. Your threat is much higher if you take estrogen and smoke. The threat is not as high as estrogen skin patches are used.


Woman who receives estrogen therapy for long time has a small increase of threat for breast cancer. The majority of guidelines recently consider hormone replacement therapy safe and sound for breast cancer risk as taken for not more than 5 years. The threat for endometrial cancer is five times higher in those women who take only estrogen replacement therapy, compared with those women who do not. However, using progesterone with estrogen looks to protect against the cancer. Endometrial cancer does not increase in those who do not contain a uterus.

Cardiovascular Disease

Estrogen may increase the threat of heart disease in the older women, or in those who began estrogen take more than 10 years following their last period. Estrogen is perhaps the safest when begun in women within 10 years after start of menopause, or under age 60.

Pulmonary embolus or blood clot in the lungs and deep venous thrombosis or blood clots in a vein are more widespread in women who use oral estrogen, not considering of their age. Women who use estrogen have an increased threat for stroke.

Women who smoke, are at higher risk for stroke and heart disease, or have heart disease are less potential to be given estrogen hormones.

Gallbladder Disease

Many studies have proved that women who take progestin or estrogen therapy have an increased threat for developing gallstones.

Side effects of oestrogen

Side effects associated with oestrogen include: breast tenderness or swelling, fluid retention, bloating, headaches, nausea, leg cramps, indigestion etc. In a few cases, small lifestyle modifications can help to mitigate side effects. For instance, eating a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet may diminish breast tenderness, taking your oestrogen hormone dose with food may aid to reduce indigestion and nausea, and regular stretching and exercise can help to lessen leg cramps.

Side effects of progestogen

Side effects associated with progestogen include: depression, acne, breast tenderness , fluid retention, mood swings, headaches, backache etc.

Who should stay away from hormone therapy?

Women with past or present history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, blood clots to the lungs or legs, endometrial cancer, liver disease or stroke should generally not take hormone replacement therapy. Women taking it should not smoke.

The women who aren't troubled by menopause symptoms and began menopause after the age 45 do not have to hormone replacement therapy to remain healthy. Instead, discuss with your doctor about plans to reduce the threat of conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis, which might include medications and lifestyle changes other than hormone replacement therapy for long-term safety.

What should you do if you aren't able to take hormone therapy?

You may be capable of managing your menopausal symptoms through healthy lifestyle approaches, for example, limiting alcohol and caffeinated beverages, keeping cool, and by practicing paced comfortable breathing or some other relaxation methods. There are also optional medicine approaches, such as acupuncture, tai chi and yoga. Work with your physician to find an effective, healthy approach which works for you.

All of these threats should be considered in choosing whether hormone replacement therapy might be a choice for you.

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