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When deciding whether to have hormone replacement therapy (HRT), it's important to understand the risks.
It's also important to consider HRT as only one of a range of interventions to improve your menopausal and post-menopausal health and wellbeing.
Many studies on HRT have been published over the past 15 years that have highlighted the potential risks. As a result, some women and doctors have been reluctant to use HRT.
But more recent evidence and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's (NICE) new guidelines say that the risks of HRT are small and are usually outweighed by the benefits.
This page covers HRT and the risks of:
Because of the risk of breast cancer, it's especially important to attend all your breast cancer screening appointments if you're taking combined HRT.
Studies looking at whether HRT can increase your risk of ovarian cancer have so far had conflicting results.
It's thought that if there is any increase in cases of ovarian cancer in women taking HRT, the risk is very small.
A recent study found that for every 1,000 women taking HRT for five years, there will be one extra case of ovarian cancer.
Any risk of ovarian cancer is thought to decrease once you stop taking HRT.
Taking combined HRT, particularly a course of continuous HRT (where you take both medications without a regular break), largely eliminates this risk.
If you still have a womb and you're taking HRT, it's important to take both medications as advised by your doctor to avoid increasing your risk of womb cancer.
Blood clots can be serious if they become lodged in a blood vessel and block the flow of blood.
It's thought the risk of developing a blood clot is about two to four times higher than normal for women taking HRT tablets. But as the risk of menopausal women developing blood clots is normally very low, the overall risk from HRT tablets is still small.
It's estimated that for every 1,000 women taking HRT tablets for 7.5 years, less than two will develop a blood clot.
Speak to your GP if you're taking HRT or are considering taking it and are worried about the risk of stroke or heart disease.