A study conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) has shed light on a concerning correlation between oral estrogen therapy and the development of high blood pressure in women. Estrogen therapy has long been used to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause, but this latest research underscores the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the potential risks and benefits associated with this treatment. The findings have significant implications for healthcare providers and women considering hormone replacement therapy.
The AHA study analyzed data from more than 100,000 women, ages 45 and older, taking oral estrogen hormone therapy for menopause. The research aimed to determine the relationship between this form of hormone replacement therapy and the subsequent development of high blood pressure.
The study revealed that estrogen ingested in pill form may be associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure compared to transdermal and vaginal estrogen.
“We know estrogens ingested orally are metabolized through the liver, and this is associated with an increase in factors that can lead to higher blood pressure,” said lead study author Cindy Kalenga, an M.D./Ph.D.-candidate at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
These findings carry significant implications for healthcare providers and women considering hormone replacement therapy. It is crucial for physicians to carefully weigh the benefits and risks associated with oral estrogen therapy, particularly in individuals with preexisting cardiovascular conditions or risk factors for hypertension.
The American Heart Association suggests that alternative forms of hormone replacement therapy, such as transdermal patches or gels, may be considered. These alternative methods deliver estrogen into the bloodstream without passing through the digestive system and potentially impacting blood pressure regulation.
Importantly, women currently on oral estrogen therapy are advised not to discontinue their treatment abruptly but to consult their healthcare providers to discuss the potential risks and appropriate alternative treatment options, if necessary.
The study from the American Heart Association has highlighted an increased risk of high blood pressure among women undergoing oral estrogen therapy. These findings emphasize the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring and a comprehensive evaluation of the risks and benefits associated with hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms. Further research is needed to explore the precise mechanisms underlying this association and to develop safer and more effective treatment options for women experiencing menopausal symptoms.