Hormone Therapy For Easing Menopause Symptoms Affects Mammogram Results

Armen Hareyan's picture

Women who take hormone replacement therapy to ease menopause symptoms have abnormal mammogram results. This makes breast biopsies hard to be detected by doctors.

Women's Health Initiative that is aimed to study post-menopausal problems in US women, published this new study in Archives of Internal Medicine. The study sheds light on hormone replacement therapy, which is currently in use by 25 million women.


The therapy eases menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats. There are two types of hormone replacement therapy: estrogen therapy and estrogen-progestin combined therapy. Study examined 16608 women who took combined therapy and a placebo. Single estrogen therapy was not considered in the study at all.

As a result of the study, 1 out of 10 women showed abnormal mammogram results, 1 out of 25 women had breast biopsy. This means, that those with breast biopsy and taking hormone replacement therapy have lower chances to detect developing breast cancer.

Researchers don't know yet how exactly hormone therapy affects mammogram results, but there is one hypothesis: women who take hormone therapy increase in breast density, because breast tissues are very sensitive to hormones. Dense breast tissues are very difficult for screening and properly detecting biopsies. However, this is not a proved opinion yet.

Hormone therapy is already proved to have adverse side effects, such as heart disease, stroke, breast cancer. This is just one more study showing another side effect of hormone replacement therapy. Doctors don't suggest women to stop taking hormone replacement therapy. Menopause symptoms may be so harmful for some women, that they will be unable to stop taking it. This is just another sign urging scientists to develop new ways for menopause treatment.