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Long-term hormone replacement therapy used to be prescribed routinely for postmenopausal women to relieve hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy also was thought to reduce the risk of heart disease.
However, research has been mixed, including one trial that found a small increase in heart disease in postmenopausal women using combined estrogen and progestin hormone therapy. Other studies suggest that hormone therapy, especially estrogen alone, may not affect — or may even decrease — the risk of heart disease when taken early in postmenopausal years.
If you're considering hormone therapy to treat menopause symptoms, it's important to understand the potential risks to your heart health and whether hormone therapy is right for you. Here's what you need to know.