Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
If you’re a middle aged woman considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help manage your menopause symptoms, you should be aware of the researched risks associated with it. While HRT can be helpful in managing common issues like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, there are also potential risks involved. This blog post will explore some of the latest research on the dangers and potential health risks associated with using HRT in middle aged women.
HRT & Increased Heart Disease & Stroke Risk
The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) conducted a large scale study investigating how HRT might affect women's heart health. The results were published in JAMA Internal Medicine and revealed that while taking combined estrogen and progestin increased the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), it had no effect on stroke risk. The authors concluded that “there is an increased risk of CHD among postmenopausal women taking estrogen plus progestin versus placebo but not for stroke” (Manson et al., 2018).
Cancer Risk and HRT
Another large-scale study was conducted by the WHI called the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (WHIOS). This study investigated whether or not there was any link between HRT use and cancer risk. The study found that long-term use of combined hormone therapy did increase cancer risk in women over fifty years old. Specifically, they found that long-term use was linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, and even melanoma (Chlebowski et al., 2019).
Other Potential Risks & Complications with HRT
In addition to potential heart disease and cancer risks associated with using HRT to manage menopause symptoms, there are also other potential risks and complications to consider. These include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), gallbladder disease, high blood pressure, and increased levels of cholesterol. It is important to discuss these risks with your doctor before starting any kind of hormone replacement therapy regimen.
Natural Options Other than HRT
With the natural aging process comes an array of hormonal changes that can affect middle-aged women in many ways, including a decrease in libido. It’s important to not let this issue go untreated as it has been known to cause a decline in quality of life, if left unchecked. There are manageable steps you can take towards restoring balance; talking with your doctor about underlying medical conditions is one way and lifestyle adjustments may also be beneficial - like adding natural plant supplements such as L-Arginine, Maca Root, Ashwagandha or Saw Palmetto into your regimen for maximum effectiveness!
As this blog post has demonstrated, there are a number of known risks associated with taking hormones for menopausal symptom management—including an increased risk for heart disease and certain types of cancers—as well as other potential complications such as DVT and gallbladder disease. There are natural solutions available for women to help balance hormones and increase libido. That being said, for many women the benefits of HRT may outweigh the risks depending on their individual situation. If you’re considering HRT for menopausal symptom management, speak with your doctor about all possible options so you can make an informed decision about which course of treatment is best for you.