Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Hormone Replacement Therapy and Breast MRI Don't Mix

WebMD Health News

Dec. 6, 2000 (Chicago) -- If a woman's mammogram raises suspicion, her doctor may have her get an MRI scan of the breast for a better look. Unfortunately, many postmenopausal women may be counteracting these extra efforts. How? By taking hormone replacement therapy.

In research presented at a radiology meeting here, researchers say hormone replacement therapy makes breast tissue appear brighter on the sophisticated MRI tests and they may therefore have a harder time interpreting test results. These enhancements don't show up on standard mammograms and the problem is most likely to occur in women taking hormones that include progesterone, they found.

The researchers say that stopping hormone therapy for a period before an MRI will give doctors a better view of potential problems in the breast.

Still, "no patient should stop taking hormones without consulting their doctor," says researcher Christiane Kuhl, MD, associate professor of radiology at the University of Bonn in Germany. But she recommends women stop taking hormones for about four weeks before a planned MRI.

If a woman has suspicious areas on a mammogram and MRI shows enhancement in the same area, Kuhl recommends a biopsy where a sample of breast tissue is taken for further testing. "However, if that MRI showed enhancement in other areas, I think it would be prudent to ask the woman to stop hormones and then return for another study," she says.

In her study, Kuhl recruited 62 healthy women who had either not entered menopause, were postmenopausal but did not use hormone replacement, and postmenopausal women who did take hormone replacement. Women in the third group went through two series of MRIs and then were asked to stop taking hormones and take a third examination four weeks later.

Those who had the most suspicious areas in the breast as seen with MRI were those who were on hormones. After they stopped taking them, however, 92% of their test results were given a thumbs up.

"This is very important data," says Laura Liberman, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. "It was really helpful to show the reversal effect by stopping hormones. I think there might be enough evidence to recommend stopping hormones for four to six weeks and then repeating the MRI study."

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror