What are the side effects of HRT?
Side effects are possible – women can experience side effects when they first start taking HRT, these effects can last a few months. Individuals react differently to HRT, so one form is not better than another, it will just depend on how your body reacts to it.
The common side effects of HRT include:
- Small increase in the risk of blood clots
- An increased risk of breast cancer
If you are experiencing side effects, you should consult your GP for advice.
HRT may also increase the risk of other medical conditions.
Endometrial cancer – women who have not had a hysterectomy and are postmenopausal are at an increased risk of endometrial cancer if they take oestrogen-only HRT.
Ovarian cancer – women taking HRT are also at a slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer. Studies, including one which monitored 948, 576 postmenopausal women on a five year follow up, have confirmed this. For every 1000 women taking HRT 2.6 developed ovarian cancer over a five-year period, compared to 2.2 women who do not take HRT.
Blood clots – HRT tablets, not patches or gels, have been linked to an increased risk of developing blood clots.
Breast cancer – in August 2019, a study showing that the risks of breast cancer if you’re using HRT are higher than we originally thought. You can read more about this in this patient info leaflet.
It’s important to think about possible risks when choosing to use HRT, so we wanted to let you know about these new findings. This is something you can talk to your GP about at your next annual review, but you can also message our doctors from your account if you have any questions about this. You should also make sure that you’re going to your national breast cancer screening appointments, and do the breast cancer self-checks as well.
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