HRT was widely prescribed for years but then fell out of favor after a large study in the early 2000s found an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, and strokes in those using HRT. However, more recent research has shown that hormone replacement therapy, especially when using bioidentical hormones (as opposed to synthetic) is safe for most men and women and actually has some incredible health benefits such as managed weight, increased muscle tone, better sleep, and cardiovascular benefits.
The North American Menopause Society and other organizations now suggest that HRT be considered the standard of care for most men and women seeking relief from hormonal imbalance. When considering if HRT is safe, it is important to note that it does have some potential risks, which vary depending on the individual. The risk of breast cancer with HRT is still a topic of debate, but the available evidence suggests that for most women, the risk is small. Women who have had breast cancer in the past should avoid HRT. Additionally, HRT can increase the risk of blood clots, especially if the woman is overweight, smokes, or has a family history of blood clots.
For women who have had a hysterectomy, the risks associated with HRT are typically lower because they do not require progesterone, which has been linked to potential risks. For women who still have a uterus, combining progesterone with estrogen for hormone replacement is recommended. Combination HRT has been shown to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer, which is a cancer that can occur in the lining of the uterus.