Are Hormones Safe?
If you are experiencing troubling symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and reduced libido, you may be considering hormones to manage these issues.
But before committing to hormone therapy, most women wish to be well-informed about the benefits and cost of treatment. Most importantly, that want to know: Are hormones safe?
Continue reading to learn about the advantages and risks of hormone therapy as well as recommendations from The North American Menopause Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and The Endocrine Society.
Hormone Therapy Options
Women have a number of hormone therapy options to manage menopause symptoms.
Patients with an intact uterus should use estrogen in combination with progestin in order to reduce their risk of uterine cancer. This therapy may be continued for up to five years.
In the event that a woman has had her uterus removed, she can take estrogen alone and possibly for a period of longer than five years.
Additionally, estrogen and estrogen + progestin therapies can be administered orally or transdermally (patches, sprays, and gels).
It is believed that low-dose estrogen pills and transdermal applications carry a lower risk of blood clots in legs and lungs. However, additional research is needed to directly compare oral and transdermal hormone therapies.
What Are the Benefits of Hormones?
Many women experience uncomfortable symptoms during menopause, including hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Hormone therapy is an effective way to manage these symptoms and provide relief.
It’s also worth noting that, when hot flashes are the primary concern, a higher dose of estrogen may be needed to yield systemic effects.
Are Hormones Safe?
For years, patients have been wondering: Are hormones safe? According to The North American Menopause Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and The Endocrine Society, hormones are a safe treatment option for healthy women who wish to control and reduce menopausal symptoms.
With that being said, hormone therapy can increase the risk for blood clots in the legs and lungs. However, it is very rare in menopausal women aged 50-59 years.
Additionally, estrogen + progestin hormone therapy can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer when it is used continuously for five or more years. Once hormones are discontinued, this risk decreases.
What’s more, studies have shown that estrogen used alone for approximately seven years does not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
Learn More About Hormone Therapy
If you are interested in learning more about HRT, including hormone safety, please call our office today to schedule a consultation with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Melinda Hall.