The Use of Replacement Hormones in the treatment of Menopausal Symptoms and the Associated Risk of Ovarian Cancer

By Samantha S. | Updated: Aug 02, 2016


Review on January 05, 2010

Menopause risks

Menopause symptoms often make women's lives uncomfortable and awkward. Side effects, such as hot flashes, mood swings and sleep deprivation often have sufferers looking for relief. Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatments for menopause symptoms and many women carry on the use of replacement hormones post menopause. Recent research has shed light on the possible links between hormone therapies and the increased risk of cancer, notably breast cancer. Until now very little research has tried to determine hormone therapies effect on ovarian cancer and a new study aims to readdress this fact.

The study conducted in Denmark at the end of the 20th century looks to change the way many women understand about the links between replacement estrogen hormones and ovarian cancer in the treatment of menopause symptoms. From 1995 to 1999, a group of 1486 menopausal women were medically assessed. Out of this group 375 women were given replacement estrogen hormones as a treatment for menopausal symptoms, while the other 1111 women were used as controls for the trail. All of the women involved were between the ages of 35 and 79 and none of them had undergone hysterectomies.

Ovarian cancer

During the trail researchers found that cases of ovarian cancer were more prevalent in those women taking the replacement estrogen hormones. However they also discovered that those patients that took larger doses of replacement estrogen hormones in the treatment of more severe menopause symptoms were at more of a risk than those that took a smaller dosage. The medical professionals involved in this research concluded that the lower the dosage of estrogen hormones which a woman ingests, the lower her risk of developing ovarian cancer was. Results also showed that the risk of ovarian cancer reduced the longer the period of time from which women had stopped taking replacement estrogen hormones for menopause symptoms.

This trail has highlighted the dangers associated with prolonged use of replacement hormones for the treatment of menopause symptoms. Women who suffer from severe menopause symptoms may find that replacement hormones are the only treatment which helps to reduce their discomfort. In this situation it is best to consult a doctor who may be able to prescribe a short term course of hormones replacement therapy or suggest natural alternatives which can help to sooth painful menopause symptoms.

More on