What are the possible long-term risks of menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?

Updated: Sep 13, 2021
  • Author: Nicole K Banks, MD; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Answer

Answer

Potential risks of HT in postmenopausal women include the following:

  • Breast cancer: Use of combined HT; study results inconsistent, but emerging consensus of slightly increased risk for breast cancer similar to that associated with natural late menopause—comes into effect after at least 5 years of continuous HT [1]

  • Endometrial cancer [2] and uterine hyperplasia and cancer: Use of HT based on unopposed estrogen

  • Thromboembolism: Use of combined or estrogen-only HT

  • Biliary pathology: Use of estrogen only or combined estrogen/progestogen HT [3]


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