Hormone Side Effects: How Hormone Therapy May Affect You
Posted byChristine Yu
If you experience heavy menstrual bleeding, you know it’s no joke. It may cause physical, emotional and mental stress. While hormone therapy can be a common treatment for irregular periods, it’s important to understand hormone side effects and how your body may respond to treatment.
Here’s some information to consider about hormone therapy.
What Is Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is intended to treat heavy bleeding by making your period lighter and more regular, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).1 Think hormone-releasing IUDs, birth control pills and progestin implants. Your menstrual cycle is ruled by two primary hormones: estrogen and progesterone, notes ACOG.2 Hormone therapy helps regulate your period and may make it lighter too. It may be a good first step in managing your irregular periods, according to a study published by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review.3
What Are the Side Effects of Hormone Therapy?
While hormone therapy is considered safe and may alleviate symptoms for some women, it’s important to understand hormone side effects. Side effects can range from breast tenderness and weight gain to nausea and mood changes. The National Institutes of Health says some women may experience worsening migraines and some spotting.4
There are also some rare but serious hormone side effects, such as blood clots, high blood pressure and stroke. According to the ACOG, the risk of these complications is higher if you smoke or have multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease.5
What If Hormone Therapy Isn’t for You?
Remember, everyone responds to treatment differently. If hormone therapy doesn’t work for you, you can ask your doctor about other options that don’t use hormones. After evaluating the cause of your heavy bleeding your doctor may recommend surgery or less invasive, in office tissue removal procedures or endometrial ablation. Hologic, the sponsor of this blog, offers the following endometrial ablation procedure as a treatment option. The NovaSure procedure is a safe and effective treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding, for women who are absolutely sure that they do not want to have any children in the future. Your doctor removes a thin layer of the lining of your uterus — the layer you shed during your menstrual cycle — and without that layer, your periods may be lighter or you may no longer experience monthly bleeding. The whole procedure only takes a few minutes, and can be done in your doctor’s office.6
There are several options available to help you manage your heavy period. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the benefits and potential side effects before deciding on a treatment option.
1“Combined Hormonal Birth Control: Pill, Patch, and Ring.” The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. July 2014. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Combined-Hormonal-Birth-Control-Pill-Patch-and-Ring#benefits.
2“Hormone Therapy” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. April 2015. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Hormone-Therapy.
3Marjoribanks, J., Lethally, A., and Farquhar, C. “Surgery versus medical therapy for heavy menstrual bleeding.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016 Jan 29;(1). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26820670.
4“Birth control pills – overview.” National Institutes of Health. April 5, 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007460.htm.
5“Combined Hormonal Birth Control: Pill, Patch, and Ring.” The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. July 2014. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Combined-Hormonal-Birth-Control-Pill-Patch-and-Ring#benefits.
6What is NovaSure Endometrial Ablation? NovaSure. http://www.novasure.com/patients/what-novasure-endometrial-ablation.
- Posted by Christine Yu
- On August 18, 2017