Many of the things we believe about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are myths. Here’s what science says...
MYTH: HRT causes breast cancer
FACT: HRT with oestrogen alone is associated with little or no change in the risk of developing breast cancer. Combined HRT can be associated with a small increased risk, however this is related to treatment duration and reduces once HRT is stopped.
MYTH: HRT has a vascular risk
FACT: HRT does not increase the risk of heart attack if started before 60. HRT as tablets can increase the risk of stroke and DVT, though generally the effect is very small. This is avoided by using patches and gels.
MYTH: HRT causes blood clots
FACT: Oral HRT can increase the likelihood of having a blood clot. But being healthy and low risk means that the added effect of HRT is tiny.
MYTH: HRT is dangerous
FACT: HRT will protect the bones and heart and may help memory. This is important if periods stop early and a factor to consider at the average menopause age.
MYTH: HRT causes weight gain
FACT: There’s no evidence that HRT causes weight gain. Women have a tendency to gain weight in middle age, and a healthy diet and exercise are important.
MYTH: If you need HRT you are beyond getting pregnant
FACT: HRT is not a contraceptive and women should continue to use contraception until aged 55.