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Do You Have To Take Estrogen After Menopause

How Long Should I Take Hormone Therapy

Taking Estrogen After Menopause: What You and Your Heart Need to Know

In general, there is no time limit to how long you can take hormone therapy. You should take the lowest dose of hormone therapy that works for you, and continue routine monitoring with your healthcare provider to reevaluate your treatment plan each year. If you develop a new medical condition while taking HT, see your provider to discuss if its still safe to continue taking HT.

What Are The Risks Of Taking Hormone Therapy

While hormone therapy helps many women get through menopause, the treatment is not risk-free. Known health risks include:

  • An increased risk of endometrial cancer .
  • Increased risk of blood clots and stroke.
  • Increased chance of gallbladder/gallstone problems.
  • Increased risk of dementia if hormone therapy is started after midlife. HT started during midlife is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.
  • Increased risk of breast cancer with long-term use.

What Happens To Our Bodies After Menopause

In truth, menopause, while it is usually thought of as a discrete period in our 50s, has long-lasting effects on our bodies. Many of the hormonal changes that take place, stay with us for the rest of our lives.

In my recent conversation with , a naturopath and nurse, we discuss some natural ways to get your hormones back in balance after menopause. I hope that Julies tips help you to understand what is going on in your body.

More importantly, I hope that her comments inspire you to give your aging body the nutrition and exercise that it deserves.

Recommended Reading: Which Of The Following Best Describes Possible Symptoms Of Menopause

Common Symptoms Of Too Little Estrogen

  • Problems with focus
  • Vaginal dryness resulting in painful intercourse
  • Increase in urinary tract infections
  • Issues with bones fracturing or breaking

If youre concerned about experiencing any of the above symptoms during menopause, make sure you speak to your primary healthcare provider. She will outline the various courses of treatment at your disposal.

Symptoms Of Low Progesterone After Menopause


The main symptoms of progesterone after menopause deficiency are:

  • unreasonable fever and sweating ;
  • excessive hair growth ;
  • loss of elasticity of the skin;
  • dry vagina, pain during sexual intercourse;
  • mood swings, aggressiveness, irritability, poor sleep;
  • sharp weight gain, swelling;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • lowering of blood pressure .

Important! Progesterone hormone deficiency in postmenopausal women can trigger the development of serious gynecological diseases such as uterine myoma and endometriosis . In a neglected form, these pathologies can degenerate into malignant formations.

It is urgent to be attentive to yourself, do not neglect by the systematic visits to the doctor and keep the track of progesterone after menopause.

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Should More Women Be Taking Estrogen Recent Data Says Yes

Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Until about 20 years ago, physicians routinely prescribed the hormones estrogen and progestin for women after menopause, when levels of both of these hormones decline. This seemed like a logical treatment, and the hope was that it would slow down bone loss , reduce the risk of heart disease, and treat other age-related problems. Estrogen also has the benefit of increasing sexual desire for women.

This all came to a screeching halt in 2002, when the Womens Health Initiative published its first findings about the effect of estrogen and progestin. Although the initial results did show benefits for osteoporosis, the main finding, trumpeted loudly at the time by NIH and in various press releases, was that the combination therapy increased the risk of breast cancer. As the US Office on Womens Health says today on their website, the 2002 study found that women taking combination hormone therapy for menopause symptoms had an increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and urinary incontinence. Although women using combined hormone therapy had a lower risk of fractures and colorectal cancer, these benefits did not outweigh the risks.

It turns out that this was not the full story.

Not surprisingly, the use of hormone replacement therapy plummeted after that, and has remained low since.

How Is Low Estrogen Treated

Women who have low levels of estrogen may benefit from hormonal treatment. Hormonal treatment is the standard for low estrogen. There are non-hormonal options to help relieve symptoms. Non-hormonal options are preferred for women at high risk for breast cancer, blood clots, stroke, or liver disease.

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Contraception Pregnancy And Hrt

Oestrogen used in HRT is different from oestrogen used in the contraceptive pill, and is not as powerful.

This means it’s possible to become pregnant if you are taking HRT to control menopausal symptoms. In some cases, a woman can be fertile for up to 2;years after her last period if she is under 50, or for a year if she is over 50.

If you don’t want to get pregnant, you can use a non-hormonal method of contraception, such as a condom or diaphragm.

An alternative is the;IUS , which is also licensed for heavy periods and as the progestogen part of HRT. You will need to add oestrogen as either a tablet, gel or patch.

Menopausal Hormone Therapy And Cancer Risk

What You Need To Know About Your Hormones After Menopause

For decades, women have used hormone therapy to ease symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and sweating. This is called;menopausal hormone therapy, and you may see it abbreviated as HT or MHT. You may also hear it described as;hormone replacement therapy;,;postmenopausal hormone therapy;, or;postmenopausal hormones;.

In the past, many doctors and their patients believed that MHT didnt just help with hot flashes and other symptoms it had important health benefits. But well-conducted studies have led many doctors to conclude that the risks of MHT often outweigh the benefits.

This information covers only how MHT can affect a womans risk of getting certain cancers. It does not cover other possible risks of MHT such as heart disease or stroke.

You can use this information when you talk to your doctor about whether MHT is right for you.

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When Mht Is Not An Option

For some women, the risks in using hormone therapy are definitely very high. MHT would not be recommended for women who:

  • Are pregnant or think they might be pregnant
  • Have irregular or unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Have breast cancer or uterine cancer
  • Have a history of heart attack or stroke
  • Have a history of getting blood clots
  • Have liver disease

Should You Use Hormone Therapy During Menopause

When a woman begins having menopause symptoms like hot flashes, irregular periods or mood changes, she will probably wonder at some point whether she should take some type of menopause hormone therapy . Sometimes called hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, it usually refers to a combination of the female hormones estrogen and/or progesterone.

Research is beginning to show what the risks and benefits of menopause hormone therapy are, but there is still a lot to learn about the effects of estrogen and progesterone on our bodies and our health. While it is a very effective treatment for many menopause symptoms, hormone therapy can increase the chances of other conditions, and the decision to use it is a balancing act of determining whether the pros outweigh the cons.

The Womens Health Initiative study is the largest study done on menopausal women and focused on heart disease, bone fractures, and breast and colorectal cancers. One of the preventive strategies studied was the effect of hormone therapy on these conditions.

The current recommendation for menopause hormone therapy suggests;if hormone therapy is used to treat menopausal symptoms, it should be used in the smallest doses that are effective, for the shortest time necessary.

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Treatment Options For Excessive Estrogen

As with low estrogen, youve got a trio of options if levels of your female hormone are too high.

  • Medication: If you start experiencing high estrogen when youre on HRT, your doctor might well adjust your plan. This simple change can help restore balance.
  • Surgery: If youre unfortunate enough to have a cancer sensitive to estrogen, your doctor might recommend removing your ovaries in a procedure called oophorectomy.;
  • Dietary Changes: Eating a diet rich in fiber and low in fat can help to naturally reduce elevated estrogen levels.

Vergo is an interactive program that gives women the tools to understand their Menopause.

  • The Vergo iOS symptom tracker
  • The Vergo QuikTrak symptom tracker
  • Vergos Interactive Education Program,;Journey Without a Roadmap: Understanding Menopause
  • Curated guides to the biggest questions and hottest topics around menopause symptoms and treatment options
  • Must-have information on male menopause:;Theres an Andropause?;
  • Terminology Cheat Sheets

Estrogen Side Effects And Risks

Estrogen Patch HRT

Hormone therapy is not without its risks. In fact, hormone therapy is not used as widely as it once was because research began revealing complications with long-term use, such as cancer and heart risks.

However, thanks to these studies, doctors and medical researchers have a better understanding of who will benefit most from estrogen therapy and who should try other treatments.

The risk factors and side effects associated with estrogen use include:

  • Blood clots: Estrogen increases your risk of blood clots, which can cause stroke, heart attack, and even death.
  • Cancer: Estrogen may increase your risk of certain cancers, specifically breast cancer. Talk with your doctor about your personal health history, your family history, and your risk of breast cancer.
  • Birth defects: If youre using estrogen or hormone therapy and become pregnant, your pregnancy may end prematurely. If youre able to carry a pregnancy to full term, birth defects are common for babies born to women using estrogen.
  • Dense breast tissue: Women who take estrogen may develop dense breast tissue. Dense tissue makes reading mammograms harder, so detecting breast cancer in its early stages may be difficult.

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Evidence Of Risks And Benefits

Many women reconsidered taking HRT due to recent studies on the long-term use of HRT. The;Heart and Estrogen-Progestin Replacement Study; found in the first year of HRT there was a 50% increase in heart attack and stroke. But, after two years of HRT, they had a decrease in these diseases.

The;Womens Health Initiative; performed a larger study. Its the largest study that examined the effects and risks of HRT in menopausal women.

In 2002, the WHI stopped giving women both estrogen and progestin therapy. Data from this group found an increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke and blood clots in the lungs and legs.

In 2004, they ended the group taking only estrogen because results indicated an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack.

Due to these studies, they created new guidelines for prescribing HRT. These include:

  • Stopping the use of HRT as a prevention of heart attack or stroke.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of using HRT for prevention of osteoporosis
  • Women with pre-existing heart disease should think about other options.
  • Use in only the short-term for menopausal symptoms.
  • Discourage long-term use

What To Do Before Taking Hormones Of Any Kind

It goes without saying that deciding whether or not to begin hormone replacement therapy is a decision that should not be taken lightly. We strive to provide you with all of the data necessary to make an informed decision, but we also understand that you may still have lingering questions. Even if you decide to consult with one of our BodyLogicMDs affiliated BHRT practitioners, we encourage you to ask any pertinent questions at your appointment that may help you feel better about your decision to mitigate the negative effects of the aging process through menopausal hormone therapy. Here are just some therapy-related questions for your doctor that you can bring in with you for further clarity:

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Looking Beyond Our Diets To Balance Our Hormones

Our healthy lifestyle decisions dont need to end with food. Walking, gentle yoga and meditation are great stress reducers. Even getting out into the sun and listening to the birds singing can help your body in amazing ways. Dont forget that our stress hormones play a major role in making us unhappy after 60. They also prevent us from losing weight, which, in turn, stops us from exploring the world.

Finally, Julie reminds us to take the time to pamper ourselves. Take a hot lavender bath. Relax with some candles and appreciate some me time. Be kind to your body and it will pay you back with many years of healthy life on this amazing planet we call home.

What natural solutions have calmed your postmenopausal hormones? Have you found any specific foods that helped? What advice would you give to the other women in the community who are struggling with their postmenopausal hormones? Please join the conversation.

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Stroke And Heart Attacks


The latest analysis from;Women’s Health Concern regarding the;risk of;heart disease and;stroke for women;taking HRT states that:

  • the risk of stroke is increased in women who smoke and are overweight
  • women starting HRT and aged below 60;are not at an increased risk of stroke
  • HRT is not recommended for women with a history of stroke or deep vein thrombosis

Speak to your GP if you are taking HRT and are worried about the risk of;stroke or heart disease.

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Womens Health Initiative Studies Of Hormone Therapy And Cancer Risk

Several large studies have looked at possible links between systemic hormone therapy in menopausal women and different types of cancer.

The main randomized studies of MHT were part of the Womens Health Initiative . The WHI included 2 randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials of MHT in healthy women:

  • One study looked at estrogen therapy in post-menopausal women who didnt have a uterus. Over 5,000 women in the ET group took a daily dose of estrogen in the form of conjugated equine estrogen for an average of about 6 years. The researchers then continued to follow them for several years to look for any further effects of the hormone. The women were compared to more than 5,000 in the placebo group.
  • The other study looked at estrogen-progestin therapy in post-menopausal women who still had their uterus. Over 8,500 women in the EPT group took a daily dose of CEE plus a progestin called;medroxyprogesterone acetate;for an average of about 5 years. This group was compared to a group of more than 8,000 women in the placebo group.

The WHI also conducted some observational studies. However, when we mention a WHI study below, were referring to one of the randomized studies.

Postmenopause And Synthetic Hormones

Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most popular treatments used by premenopausal and postmenopausal women in the United States. HRT works much in the same way that phytoestrogenic herbs do, by reintroducing estrogen into a woman’s body, thereby balancing her hormone levels.

HRT also has some serious disadvantages. Most notably, a 2002 study revealed that women who take synthetic hormones in the form of HRT are significantly increasing their risk of developing heart disease, blood clots, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.

Hormonal changes associated with postmenopause are what causes uncomfortable symptoms that many women experience. While these symptoms are normally not debilitating, they can be frustrating, and many women seek to treat them naturally. Check out the following link to learn more about the different symptoms of postmenopause.

  • Love, S. . Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. . Menopause. Retrieved April 1, 2016, from

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How Can I Reduce These Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy

In most cases, these side effects are mild and dont require you to stop your HT. If your symptoms bother you, ask your healthcare provider about adjusting either the dosage or the form of the HT to reduce the side effects. Never make changes in your medication or stop taking it without first consulting your provider.

Putting The Risks And Benefits Of Hrt In Perspective

Have you been prescribed an HRT patch? Did you like your ...

If you’re just glancing at list above, some of the risks of HRT might seem to overwhelm the benefits. Could a reduction in vaginal dryness possibly be worth an increased risk of cancer?

But look at the details. The risks of HRT — while real — are quite small for an individual person. For example, the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study found that ERT increased the risk of strokes by 39%. That sounds frighteningly high. But the actual number of people affected is very small. Out of 10,000 women who are not taking ERT, 32 have strokes each year. Out of 10,000 who are taking ERT, 44 have strokes each year. That’s an increase of just 12 people out of 10,000.

On the other hand, when it comes to controlling the symptoms of surgical menopause, a huge number of women feel the benefits. One out of four menopausal women has severe hot flashes. Treatment with hormone therapy cuts down the number of hot flashes per week by 75%. So if a woman had 24 hot flashes per week, HRT would drop that number to six. That could make a big difference in the quality of their day-to-day life.

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Where Does Evidence About The Health Effects Of Mht Come From

The most comprehensive evidence about;the health effects;of MHT comes from two randomized clinical trials that were sponsored by the National Institutes of Health as part of the Womens Health Initiative :

  • The WHIEstrogen-plus-Progestin Study, in which women with a uterus were randomly assigned to receive either a hormone pill containing both estrogen and progestin or a placebo. The median duration of treatment was 5.6 years.
  • The WHI Estrogen-Alone Study, in which women without a uterus were randomly assigned to receive either a hormone pill containing estrogen alone or a placebo. The median duration of treatment was 7.2 years.

More than 27,000 healthy women who were 50 to 79 years of age at the time of enrollment took part in the WHI hormone therapy trials. The goals of these trials were to see if MHT prevents heart disease and bone fractures in postmenopausal women and to determine if MHT affects risks of breast cancer and, for women with a uterus, endometrial cancer. Both trials were stopped early , when it was determined that both types of therapy were associated with specific health risks, but long-term follow up of the participants continues to provide new information about the health effects of MHT.


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