As you approach menopause, your levels of estrogen and progesterone (the hormones that cause you to ovulate and menstruate each month) start to decline, often triggering a whole host of symptoms that can range from annoying to incapacitating. Replacing the lost estrogen with hormone supplements can alleviate these problems, which may include hot flashes )medically known as vasomotor symptoms), depression, mood swings, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, and clouded thinking.
Is hormone replacement therapy safe?
Some women may be able to take hormone replacement therapy to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms in the short term without any ill effects. However, some doctors believe that the risks are serious enough to outweigh the benefits of the therapy for many women.
In 2015, a study from Oxford University and published in the journal Cochrane Library found that if women start HRT more than 10 years after menopause, their risk of stroke increased slightly and their risk of blood clots rose as well. If women began the therapy within 10 years of menopause, however, the stroke risk disappeared and there was some small protection against heart disease. However, they still had an increased risk of blood clots.
Subsequent studies have been less...