ZocdocAnswersShould a menopausal woman take hormones?

Question

Should a menopausal woman take hormones?

COnsidering taking estrogen.

Answer

This is a great question, because it highlights an area in which medical thinking and management has changed a lot in recent years. Historically, hormone replacement for management of menopausal symptoms (like hot flashes) was very common. However, several studies then showed that there was a risk for complications such as heart disease, stroke, and blood clots from this treatment. This risk ended up being more common with combined estrogen and progesterone treatment than with estrogen treatment alone, however there is still some risk of stroke and blood clot even with estrogen alone treatments. These risk are much more common in older women, and the current consensus is that estrogen alone treatments are safe in younger post menopausal women, as long as there are no significant medical conditions, such as a history of heart disease, stroke, or breast cancer among others. In other words, it is important to have a lengthy conversation with your primary care doctor or your OB GYN doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment. Most doctors currently feel that, in the absence of major risk factors, younger women with menopause related symptoms can be treated with estrogen therapy for a short while to relieve the symptoms. Your doctor can guide you through the decision-making process.

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