3 common myths about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

It is natural to be concerned about your health when taking a new medication. Of course you want to know not only the benefits but also the risks associated with what you’re consuming. Unfortunately, many of the risks commonly associated with taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) aren’t entirely true. You need to be clued up as to what’s fact and what’s fiction, so here we debunk some of the common myths about HRT:

1. HRT causes heart attacks and strokes

Taking HRT under the age of 60 doesn’t increase your risk of having a heart attack. There is a small increase in the risk of stroke in women who take combined HRT. Yet, it is possible to reduce that risk by using oestrogen patches or gels. The risk of stroke in women under the age of 60 is very low whether they take HRT or not.

2. HRT causes weight gain

There is no direct evidence linking HRT to weight gain. Women may gain weight as a by-product of menopause but this is not due to taking HRT. During menopause your fat cells produce oestrogen in order to protect your bones. Furthermore, your metabolism and appetite may change during this time. Side effects of hormone replacement therapy may include bloating and fluid retention, but not actual weight gain.

3. All types of HRT increase the risk of breast cancer

Only some types of HRT causes a small (1 in 1000) increase in the risk of breast cancer if taken for more than five years. Oestrogen-only HRT taken by women who have had a hysterectomy is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. It’s also important to note that there isn’t an increased risk of breast cancer for women who take HRT under the age of natural menopause (51 years).

Approximately 75% of women in the UK experience menopausal symptoms which can last for years. You may want to consider HRT to ease those symptoms. If you previously had concerns about the negative effects of this medication, we hope you can now see that some of those concerns may be based on myths. For more information on HRT and its benefits, look here.