This Common Menopause Treatment Could Up Your Risk Of Blood Pressure

It can up your chances of developing the condition by 14%.
bymuratdeniz via Getty Images

A study has found that oral oestrogen was linked with a 14% higher risk of high blood pressure. Women take hormone pills to deal with the symptoms of menopause but research has found that there could be an increased risk of high blood pressure.

Oral oestrogen was associated with a 14% higher risk of high blood pressure than oestrogen creams, and a 19% greater risk of high blood pressure than vaginal oestrogen creams or suppositories.

Additionally, the research in women aged 45 and older, also found that at the lowest dose, and for the shortest period of time, non-oral estradiol, a particular type of oestrogen, was linked with the lowest risk of developing high blood pressure.

Oestrogen pills are processed through the liver, and this could be associated with an increase in factors that can lead to higher blood pressure, the research found.

After menopause, a woman’s body starts to produce less oestrogen and progesterone. These changes may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases including heart failure, heart disease, and stroke. Hormone therapy can be prescribed to relieve symptoms of menopause, in gender-affirming care, and in contraception.

However, previous research has found that some hormone therapies can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in menopausal women aged under 60, for whom it has been fewer than 10 years since menopause.

But the potential effects of different types of hormone therapy on blood pressure in menopausal women still remain unclear.

“We know oestrogens ingested orally are metabolised through the liver, and this is associated with an increase in factors that can lead to higher blood pressure,” Study lead author Cindy Kalenga, University of Calgary, Canada, said.

“We know that post-menopausal women have increased risk of high blood pressure when compared to pre-menopausal women, furthermore, previous studies have shown that specific types of hormone therapy have been associated with higher rates of heart disease,” she adds.

112,000 women were involved in the study and filled at least two consecutive prescriptions for oestrogen-only hormone therapy. High blood pressure (hypertension) was identified via health records.

Additionally, researchers found that taking oestrogen for a longer period of time or taking a higher dose was associated with greater risk of high blood pressure.

“It’s really important to have greater knowledge on safe and effective hormonal treatments for women during menopause,” said study co-author Sofia Ahmed, a professor of medicine at the University of Calgary.

“At the end of the day, it’s an individualised decision about what is best for the person going through menopause and should include open dialogue with their physician or health care team,” she said. The findings are published in the journal Hypertension.