Hormone Replacement Therapy Side Effects
Hormone replacement therapy supplies hormones that are naturally lost when a woman goes through menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is intended to alleviate common menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, decreased sexual desire, vaginal dryness, and difficulty sleeping. However, studies have shown that adverse hormone replacement side effects may outweigh the benefits, indicating that hormone replacement therapy can significantly increase the risk for heart attack, strokes, breast cancer and blood clots.
The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study, initiated in 1993, was designed to determine the benefits and risks associated with hormone replacement therapy. The study examined women taking combination estrogen and progestin therapy, as well as women taking only estrogen replacement therapy. The hormone replacement side effects were found to be so adverse and frequent among participants that the WHI study was discontinued in 2002.
Of the 16,000 participants in the WHI study, hormone replacement side effects included a 26 percent increased risk of breast cancer, a 100 percent increased risk for blood clots and a 41 percent increased in risk for strokes.
In addition to breast cancer, one of the most serious hormone replacement side effects seen in women taking the estrogen and progestin combination, women taking estrogen only hormone replacement experienced a six to eight times increased risk for uterine cancer and an increased risk for ovarian cancer.
Now experts caution women that the following serious hormone replacement therapy side effects pose a risk to HRT users:
- Endometrial cancer (particularly when using estrogen-only medications)
- Breast cancer (particularly Prempo, when used for four or more years)
- Increased breast density (this can make mammograms less effective in detecting breast cancer; delays in treatment can worsen the outcome of breast cancer; primarily a hormone replacement therapy side effect associated with Prempo)
- Ovarian cancer
- Blood clots (particularly with drugs like Prempo)
- Heart attack and stroke
- Gallbladder disease
Other hormone replacement side effects found commonly in patients using this medication include water retention, vaginal bleeding, nausea, migraine headaches, negative mood swings, and breast tenderness.
There are also certain conditions that can increase the risk of suffering serious hormone replacement side effects. For this reason, women with the following conditions should not use hormone replacement therapy:
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Breast cancer history
- Uterine cancer history
- Liver problems or liver disease
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism)
- Heart or other cardiovascular conditions
If you are considering taking a hormone replacement therapy medication, it is important to consider these adverse hormone replacement side effects first. Be sure to inform your doctor of your medical history before taking any medications, so that he or she can determine if you are at an increased risk for complications.
If you or a loved one has been affected by severe hormone replacement side effects, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Please contact us today to speak to a qualified attorney regarding your case. Our knowledgeable lawyers can evaluate you case free of charge and help you pursue a legal claim to obtain compensation for your hormone replacement therapy-related losses.
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