Is hormone therapy worth the risk?

However, if hormone therapy is started before age 60 or within 10 years after menopause, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks. However, there are risks associated with the use of hormone therapy. These risks depend on the type of hormone therapy, the dosage, the length of time the medication is taken, and individual health risks. For best results, hormone therapy must be adapted to each person and reevaluated from time to time to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Hormone therapy can help alleviate menopausal symptoms. However, it is associated with many serious risks if used in the long term. While treatment reduces the risk of bone fractures, it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (problems with the heart and blood vessels) and breast cancer. Research shows that, for most women, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy outweigh the risks.

If someone has a history of blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, liver disease, or cancer caused by hormones, such as breast cancer, there are other treatment options. A patch, for example, has a lower risk of blood clots than other methods of administration and may provide better protection against osteoporosis than taking pills. Hormone therapy stabilizes estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health. A new study suggests that a low-fat, plant-based, soy-rich diet is as effective as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to reduce hot flashes.

As new therapies and guidelines become available, and as a woman's body changes over time, reevaluations and adjustments must be made. To determine if hormone therapy is a good treatment option for you, talk to your doctor about your individual symptoms and your health risks. In addition to relieving symptoms, hormone replacement therapy can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Like all medications and treatments, hormone replacement therapy can cause side effects in some women, such as breast tenderness, headaches, and stomach aches.

The following tables show how common certain medical conditions are in women receiving long-term hormone therapy after menopause. As researchers learn more about hormone therapy and other treatments for menopause, recommendations may change. In the past, taking hormones long after menopause was thought to protect women from serious illnesses. Because hormones control anxiety, appetite, body temperature, brain function, heart rate, metabolism, mood, sleep cycles, sexual function, stress, urination and, in general, everything, imbalances (too low or too high) can cause annoying (at best) and uncomfortable symptoms.

Some analyses of the studies also suggest that hormone therapy may slightly lower the risk of bowel cancer. Hormone replacement therapy focuses primarily on replacing estrogen that the body no longer produces after menopause. Many factors will influence a woman's decision to use a particular hormonal product: her age, her risks, her preferences, the treatment options available, and the cost of the product. Hormone therapy is most commonly used to treat common menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal discomfort.

One treatment option is hormone therapy with estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progestogen.