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Hormone Patches and Creams for Menopause Symptoms Show Lower Blood Pressure Risk Compared to Pills



Menopause hormone patches

According to new research, hormone patches or creams may be a safer option for women experiencing menopause symptoms in terms of their blood pressure, compared to pills.

Women often turn to hormone therapy to alleviate hot flashes and other menopause-related symptoms. However, as women’s reproductive hormone levels decrease during menopause, their risk of heart disease increases, with high blood pressure further amplifying this risk.

The study, first reported by the Associated Press, was conducted by the University of Calgary to investigate whether the method of hormone absorption, whether oral, vaginal, or through the skin, could influence blood pressure.

The research team analyzed the health records of over 112,000 women aged 45 and above who had received at least six months’ worth of estrogen-only hormone treatment between 2008 and 2019. They monitored the occurrence of high blood pressure in these women, at least one year after initiating treatment. The study findings, published in the journal Hypertension, revealed that although the differences were not substantial, women who took estrogen pills had a 14% higher risk of developing hypertension compared to those using skin patches or creams. Oral estrogen carried a 19% greater risk than vaginal versions.

It is important to note that hormone therapy has a range of risks and benefits, making it unsuitable for everyone. Presently, it is prescribed primarily for symptom relief during menopause, rather than disease prevention, using the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration. The most commonly prescribed hormone therapy consists of combination pills containing estrogen and progestin, although estrogen-only pills are typically given to women without a uterus.

While the study did not address the efficacy of different hormone therapy versions for specific menopause symptoms, it does provide valuable insights into the intricate relationship between hormone therapy and blood pressure.

Dr. Garima Sharma, a women’s heart specialist with Virginia’s Inova Health System and the American Heart Association, emphasized the need for more comprehensive trials comparing various hormone formulations. One possible explanation highlighted is that oral estrogen may impact blood pressure-related enzymes during its metabolism, whereas skin and vaginal applications have more limited effects on the body.

These findings have significant clinical implications, indicating the importance of monitoring blood pressure in women using oral hormone therapy, according to Dr. Sharma. Further research is needed to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding hormone therapy and its effects on blood pressure.


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