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What are the Common Hormone Replacement Therapy Risks?

By Patti Kate
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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The most common hormone replacement therapy risks include heart attack and stroke. Women who receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT) also face an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. Hormone therapy replacement risks also include blood clots. Liver disease may be another risk from HRT.

Menopausal women may experience hot flashes, mood swings, or vaginal dryness due to a decrease of hormone production. When other methods of treatment do not provide results, some women elect to have hormone replacement therapy. Many physicians are cautious about prescribing this course of treatment, however, due to hormone replacement therapy risks.

Serious complications have been reported in women receiving hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen and progestin are most commonly given to women using this treatment. Research shows an increased risk for developing heart disease or a heart attack while taking these hormones. Many women who had participated in a 2002 study experienced serious side effects while taking these supplements.

Besides an increased risk of breast cancer, hormone replacement therapy risks also include higher incidence of uterine cancer. Studies have shown that women who are taking doses of estrogen, progestin, or both may be at a higher risk for developing endometrial cancer. This risk becomes substantially higher when a women uses estrogen alone. An increased risk for ovarian cancer is also associated with the use of hormone supplements.

There are other, less severe reactions associated with the use of hormone supplements. Other side effects are indigestion and heartburn. Other common hormone therapy replacement risks include nausea and vomiting. Some women also have reported side effects such as migraine headaches and vaginal bleeding during hormone supplement therapy.

Emotional disturbances have also been reported as common hormone replacement therapy risks. These are not as commonly reported as other side effects, however. Some disturbances include difficulty sleeping, irritability, and mood swings. Some women also have reported experiencing strange dreams or nightmares when undergoing hormone replacement therapy.

Other common hormone replacement therapy risks may include acne and minor skin irritations. Miscellaneous side effects from HRT may also include decreased appetite or sudden loss of weight. Weight gain may be another side effect of HRT. Shortness of breath or wheezing may also be side effects associated with HRT. Other respiratory side effects from HRT may include a dry cough or tightness in the chest.

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Discussion Comments
By Spotiche5 — On Aug 28, 2014

I took hormone replacement therapy for a few weeks, then decided to quit. The symptoms of upset stomach was enough to make me seek other alternatives for my symptoms.

By Ocelot60 — On Aug 27, 2014

Anyone who has heart problems in their family should really weigh all of the risks and benefits before undergoing hormone replacement therapy. While many doctors are quick to prescribe this treatment regimen for menopausal women, the risks usually outweigh the benefits for people with a family history of heart disease.

For these women, natural remedies such as soy products and dietary changes will provide some symptom relief as they go through menopause.

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