10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Hormone Therapy During Menopause
6. What are the risks of hormone therapy?
Hormone therapy is not risk-free. In some women, hormone therapy can increase the risk of breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots. It’s important to weigh the risks against the benefits by talking to your doctor.
7. What are the benefits of hormone therapy?
The estrogen in hormone therapy can greatly relieve menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. It can also lower a woman’s risk of colon cancer and macular degeneration (vision loss that occurs with age), and help protect bone strength.
8. How long will I have to take hormone replacement therapy?
Most women take hormone therapy for the shortest time possible -- and at the lowest dose. There is evidence that serious health risks such as blood clots, breast cancer, and stroke increase after five years of use. If you have personal or family history of these and other health risks, this will affect your decision regarding hormone replacement therapy.
9. Will hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms return when I quit hormone therapy?
Your symptoms may return slightly when you stop taking hormones, but they will likely taper off over several months to a year. Your doctor can help you manage these symptoms. For some they may be lifelong.
10. Are there other things I can do to protect myself against osteoporosis?
Doctors have long known that estrogen therapy helps prevent osteoporosis (but hormones should not be given just to prevent or treat osteoporosis). There are many other ways to protect your bone health. Regular weight-bearing exercise and a diet high in calcium and vitamin D strengthen bones. There are also many bone-building medications available to women today. Your doctor can help you decide the best bone health strategy for you.