Curious about how estrogen replacement therapy affects your blood pressure? Explore our latest piece, where we dissect a study on oral estrogen and hypertension. Uncover why experts recommend careful monitoring and safer alternatives such as transdermal or vaginal estrogen. Demystify hormone therapy with our insightful guide!
- A recent study highlighted that oral estrogen, used in hormone replacement therapy, could potentially lead to a higher incidence of hypertension compared to other methods like transdermal patches or vaginal creams. Women undergoing such therapy need to be closely monitored for high blood pressure.
- Despite the noted risk with oral estrogen, the study confirms that hormone therapy with estrogen remains generally safe, especially when administered vaginally or transdermally. These alternative delivery methods can be safer for women with pre-existing risk factors for hypertension.
- Given that high blood pressure readings can sometimes be dismissed as nervousness, consistent and regular monitoring of blood pressure is crucial, particularly for women in menopause. Blood pressure monitors at home, or even smartwatches and activity bands that can provide readings, can be beneficial for keeping track and maintaining an accurate average.
Do you ever find yourself wondering about the long-term health impacts of various forms of hormone therapy?
If so, you’re not alone.
With a plethora of studies conducted on the subject, it’s important to understand how these results could affect your health and lifestyle decisions.
One particular study, has revealed that oral estrogen, in pill form, might be linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure compared to other delivery methods such as vaginal creams and transdermal patches.
Let’s delve into the details.
Oral Estrogen and Hypertension: The Study
According to a comprehensive study published in the Journal Hypertension, oral estrogen, when compared to vaginal creams and transdermal patches, may pose a heightened risk of high blood pressure.
The study examined medical records of over 112,000 women aged 45 and older from Alberta, Canada, all of whom had at least two consecutive prescriptions for estrogen-only hormone therapy.
These women, according to the researchers, consumed their estrogen therapy through three different mediums: oral, transdermal, and vaginal.
From there, high blood pressure was identified in each woman through their health records.
After a year of starting the treatment, the researchers began analyzing the connection between the method of estrogen therapy administration and the risk of developing high blood pressure.
They came up with some revealing points:
- Oral estrogen therapy users had a 14% higher risk of high blood pressure than those using transdermal patches.
- A 19% higher risk was observed in oral estrogen therapy users when compared to women using vaginal creams.
- The risk was higher among women younger than 70 compared to those over 70.
- When compared to estradiol, estrogen taken in the form of conjugated equine estrogen carried an 8% higher risk.
- Longer usage duration and higher dosage also correlated with a greater risk of high blood pressure.
Dr. Monte Swarup, an OB/GYN from Chandler, Arizona, provided insight into the findings:
“In the study, oral estrogen was associated with a higher incidence of hypertension than transdermal or vaginal,” Swarup noted, adding the importance of closely monitoring women using estrogen hormone replacement therapy for hypertension.
Menopause And Women’s Health
Menopause impacts various aspects of a woman’s health.
The fact is, the severe and prolonged menopausal symptoms such as vasomotor symptoms can increase cardiovascular risk, cause impaired quality of life, poor sleep, and depression/anxiety.
Dr. Anais Hausvater, a New York-based cardiologist specializing in cardiovascular diseases that predominantly affect women, reinforces this.
“It is important women know they should not suffer with their menopausal symptoms and there are many different treatment options available to them,” says Hausvater.
The professional consensus points towards the safety of hormone therapy with estrogen, especially when administered via transdermal patches or vaginal creams.
Cohort Study Vs Real-Time Study
It’s important to understand that the results of this study are drawn from a cohort study, not a real-time study.
Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz explains:
“A cohort study is retrospective. That means that the scientists found people that fit their criteria, in this case, women who took estrogen. They then analyzed the type and the relationship to high blood pressure. This type of study provides information, but it is not the same as a real-time study.”
High Blood Pressure During Menopause
Menopause stages can influence blood pressure in diverse ways.
Previous studies, like one in 2015, indicated that hypertension prevalence seems to increase as women progress through menopause.
Hence, regular blood pressure checks are crucial.
Dr. Ruiz underlines this by saying,
“A blood pressure reading of 135/90 can be dismissed as nervousness, but several readings of 135/90 could be considered hypertension. There should be a follow-up visit in six weeks. I also suggest that women get a home blood pressure cuff and take their blood pressure at different times and then average it to get a more accurate reading.”
As a whole, this study indicates a strong correlation between the method of estrogen administration and the risk of hypertension.
Oral estrogen seems to carry a higher risk compared to transdermal patches and vaginal creams.
The duration and dosage of estrogen consumption are also significant factors.
Stay informed, stay healthy!
Difference in blood pressure between early and late menopausal transition was significant in healthy Korean women. https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-015-0219-9
Association Between the Route of Administration and Formulation of Estrogen Therapy and Hypertension Risk in Postmenopausal Women: A Prospective Population-Based Study. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.122.19938
Women taking oral estrogen hormones may have increased risk of high blood pressure. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/women-taking-oral-estrogen-hormones-may-have-increased-risk-of-high-blood-pressure?preview=1e8b