If you're taking hormone replacement therapy to ease the symptoms of the menopause, it's likely that the treatment helps no end, during what can often be a difficult period.
But it seems that some variations of HRT may actually carry a higher risk of health issues than others.
According to a study conducted by the University of Nottingham, HRT tablets – mostly, those containing some kind of equine oestrogen – were linked to a higher risk of blood clots than other forms of HRT.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at the prescription records of 80,000 women between the ages of 40 and 79, and found that the risk of blood clots was 15% higher in those taking treatments containing horse urine, than those taking ones containing the synthetic oestradiol.
However, scientists were keen to state that the risk with this type of treatment is only slightly higher than others, and so there is no need to unduly panic.
According to the BBC, GP’s leader’s also reassured that women shouldn’t simply change their HRT, nor should they stop taking it.
They suggested that if women are worried, they should consult their GP to discuss their concerns instead.
But, there appears to be no such risk when using other forms of HRT, such as gels, creams or patches, which the study claimed is the safest way to take the treatment.
Dr Yana Vinogradova, from Nottingham’s school of medicine said of the research, “Our study has shown that, for oral treatments, different tablets are associated with different risks of developing blood clots, depending on the active components.
“It has also confirmed that risks of thrombosis for patients using HRT treatments other than tablets [patches or gels] is very low.”
So while there’s no need to worry – it seems the news is something to be aware of.
HRT is widely considered to be a safe treatment by the NHS, providing many women of menopausal age relief from the symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and mood swings.
However, it’s not thought to be suitable for everyone – with the NHS advising that women with a history of breast, ovarian, womb cancer, or high blood pressure may not be able to take it.
For more information on hormone replacement therapy, visit the NHS website here. Or better still, speak to your doctor about it, who can advise you specifically.