HRT side effects

Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT, has a number of different benefits, but it also has a number of side effects as well. HRT is often used to help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, sleep disorders, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. Menopause results in a lack of estrogen being produced in the body, which can lead to things such as bone density loss. This can cause osteoporosis and easily broken, weak bones. HRT has also shown some promise in helping to prevent or deal with other diseases such as vision loss related to aging, colon cancer, and may even help battle Alzheimer’s disease.

HRT has also been shown to have some effect on depression and on helping improve the memory and cognitive functions of women with Alzheimer’s. Taking oral estrogen can even help improve a woman’s cholesterol level, although studies have shown that this may not actually help reduce the risk of heart disease. There may be other benefits to HRT as well, but the full effects of this treatment are still being studied. It is certain that different types of estrogen, such as estrogen absorbed by the skin verses that taken orally, do have different effects because they enter and are distributed throughout the body differently. However, how substantial these effects are has not yet been determined.

Using hormone replacement therapy, however, is not without its risks and side effects. At times, it can be difficult to determine if a symptom is a side effect of HRT or if it is caused by something different. HRT can result in an increased risk of endometrial cancer, especially if estrogen is being taken without any progesterone or progestin. HRT can also result in a slightly increased risk of blood clots, ovarian cancer, stroke, and heart attack. Stroke and heart attack risk is generally only associated with women who are using HRT with progestin and oral estrogen. There’s also a slightly increased risk of breast cancer in women who use HRT for more than four years.

There is also a chance of increased breast density in women taking HRT. This increased density can make it difficult to interpret mammograms, which can in turn make it harder to determine if a woman has breast cancer or not. In this case, the chance of increased density is caused mainly by women taking oral progestin alongside estrogen.

Women who are undergoing HRT may also experience pain in their breasts, although this is often temporary. They may also experience some bloating and fluid retention, some nausea, and some depression and other mood swings. Most of these last few side effects are only caused by HRT that involves heavy use of progestins, although that’s not always the case.

In addition, women who take estrogen and progestin in cycles or only take progestin part of the month may experience monthly vaginal bleeding. They may also experience bleeding or spotting when taking estrogen and progesterone or a progestin daily. This bleeding may become less of an issue over time or as the dosage of their HRT is changed. Often, switching to a different form of HRT or using a different type of product will also help eliminate some side effects since not all women react to each type of HRT in the same way.

Women who experience vaginal bleeding with no known cause, have liver disease, have a history of either uterus or breast cancer, or have cardiovascular diseases should not use HRT. Likewise, women who have or have had blood clots in their lungs or legs during pregnancy or from taking birth control pills should avoid HRT.

Last updated on Feb 15th, 2010 and filed under Reproductive Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “HRT side effects”

  1. Mrs K Nolan says:

    I take my HRT in a way that is not the norm but because i suffered extremely bad PMT (suicidal and had to go in phyciatric hospital) i did my research and found this was the best for me. I have estradiol 50mg patches and for 2 weeks out of 4 take cyclogest 200mg pessaries, one a day. The side effects i have experienced are all positive ones, my weight returned to normal , i had gained a lot very quickly all on my stomach area. Now i have noticed that my breasts seem to be bigger and fuller, although i have gained some weight over the 3 years i have been taking HRT it is on my hips and bust making me look more curvy instead of all on my tummy making me look 3 mths pregnant! I have no more horrible hot flushes and sweats and would recommend anyone suffering to research which HRT is right for them and to push for that. Doctors sometimes want to give you a) whats cheapest and b) what all their other patients are taking.

Comments are closed