Have you wondered about hormone replacement theory, but had concerns about the associated risks you’ve heard about through the grapevine? Are you worried about trading one health issue for another — one that might even be worse? If you’re suffering from symptoms of menopause, it’s important to understand what the research says about hormone replacement therapy. Confusion surrounding some of the research in the past has led many people to unnecessarily fear HRT. The truth is, thousands of women across the globe find relief during menopause through the right protocol of hormone replacement therapy, and you can too.
HRT: What Are the Risks?
If you’re familiar with hormone replacement therapy, you may have heard a lot of hype around its potential health risks. In fact, many women avoid it altogether and tough out the unpleasant side effects of menopause because they’re scared of HRT risks. However, recent studies show hormone replacement therapy to be far less dangerous than previously believed.
Does HRT Increase Cancer Risk?
A large study conducted nearly two decades ago cited breast cancer as a potential HRT risk. However, recent evidence shows women who opted for more natural means of menopause treatment were just as likely to get breast cancer as those who opted for hormone replacement therapy. These more recent findings suggest that breast cancer has more to do with genetics and family history than anything else.
The timing of HRT is important as well. Earlier studies were conducted on women who were well past the average age of menopause. But recent studies indicate that when started within ten years of the onset of menopause, HRT does not cause an increased risk of cancer. Recent research also shows that HRT can lower the risk of endometrial cancer.
Does HRT Increase Risk of Stroke?
According to a 2012 study, the standard treatment and dose of hormone replacement therapy rarely increases a woman’s risk of stroke — assuming she is younger than 60. The stroke risk linked with hormone replacement therapy remains controversial, given that it was the outdated Women’s Health Initiative study done so many years ago that points to said risk. Since then, investigations surrounding the study find questionable motivations linked to the large-scale HRT study done by the WHI, and have found that the results may have been distorted for publicity.
Does HRT Increase Risk of Dementia?
Once again, HRT risk of dementia was reported by the Women’s Health Initiative back in 1991. Since then, other studies indicate it may have all been overblown hype, and for questionable reasons. This A 2017 study found little or no association between hormone replacement therapy and cognitive decline.
It’s up for each woman to discuss hormone replacement therapy with her doctor and decide whether HRT is the best option for treating symptoms associated with menopause. At OB/GYN Associates of Alabama, we can help you understand menopause, hormone replacement therapy, and the range of treatment options available. Contact us to request an appointment today.