Does Synthetic Estrogen Affect Your Blood Pressure? Find Out.

Recent studies are delving into the correlation between synthetic estrogen and blood pressure. Find out what the results show.
Synthetic estrogen and blood pressure

For decades, women (and trans women) have been using synthetic estrogen to keep their hormone levels in check. But can the use of estrogen that doesn’t naturally occur in your body be the cause of high blood pressure? Recent studies have given us more information on the combo and how it can affect our health, and here’s everything you need to know. 

Disclosure: This post on synthetic estrogen is for informative purposes only. You know your body best, so please don’t think I’m trying to sway your opinion on hormone usage. If you have any questions after reading, please consult your physician to make an informed decision. 

You’re Not Alone.

Hot flash or sweaty woman

Roughly four percent of women in the United States use estrogen daily, and I’m one of them. I’ve been using it since I had a total hysterectomy nearly 15 years ago when my gynecologist and I decided that, compliments of my younger-than-average-for-menopause age, I needed it to live my best life. He called it a “fountain of youth” for his mother.  

I was unsure at first, but then my first major hot flash appeared. I wanted to strip down to my dainties in the middle of a department store to ease what felt like my flesh melting from my bones, and it became very clear that I needed to use a daily estrogen patch for not only my body but for my sanity. I had brain fog, night and day sweats, anxiety, heart palpitations – you name it. 

Within a few hours of slapping an estrogen patch to my stomach, they all subsided. So, to those of you who are in the early stages of menopause or have gone through it, I can completely sympathize with you. 

Using synthetic estrogen is definitely not a new concept, and depending on which you and your physician feel is best, it can be taken by mouth, via a skin patch, or even cream (among other methods), depending on your symptoms. Recent studies, however, have linked high blood pressure with synthetic estrogen, and, as a gal who uses it, I wanted to learn everything I could about the effect.  

First, How Does Estrogen Therapy Help with Menopause?

Estrogen patch

Estrogen therapy is a popular form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In a nutshell, it supplements hormones that are lost during menopause. In addition to alleviating common menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, it has been proven to help with additional aging concerns:

  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Mood changes
  • Dementia
  • Stroke

On the other side of the estrogen coin, there are a few common risks associated with HRT, particularly when combined with progestin:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Breast cancer

To narrow it down, if your physician determines that the HRT benefits outweigh the risks, it’s worth it. For me, it was a no-brainer. I was absolutely miserable between the time I had my hysterectomy and the time I finally chose to use HRT. 

Now, that doesn’t mean I just slap on a patch and forget that I’m on a synthetic hormone. In fact, there is a noticeable difference between what my body naturally produced and what I’m using now. I’m not trying to scare you, but it is worth noting that I just feel “different.” It’s a new normal that I’m used to, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that naturally occurring estrogen is what’s ideal. 

Synthetic Estrogen and High Blood Pressure

Oral estrogen

It’s funny how you remember tidbits of conversation, isn’t it? When my doctor talked about HRT with me, I remember he was a huge proponent of the patch versus a pill and, according to him, “It’s way better for you than the pill because it bypasses the liver.” 

Keeping that piece of worthy information in the back of my mind, I wasn’t stunned at the recent results from a study of more than 100,000 women aged 45 and older. Compared to transdermal (estrogen patches) and vaginal estrogen:

  • The use of oral estrogen was associated with a 14% higher risk of having high blood pressure. Additionally, the risk was 19% higher than vaginal creams or suppositories. 
  • As for the lowest risk of high blood pressure, non-oral estradiol, when given at the lowest dose for the shortest period of time, came out as the winner. 

To drive my dear doctor’s statement about oral estrogen home, the lead study author, Cindy Kalega, said, “We know estrogens ingested orally are metabolized through the liver, and this is associated with an increase in factors that can lead to higher blood pressure.” The study’s findings also have shown a correlation between the type of estrogen used and the risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure. 

So, what do these findings mean for us, exactly? For me, it means that I’m happy to stay with my transdermal regimen. For those that take estrogen in a pill form, it’s probably worth talking to your doctor to find out if switching to a different method may be best for you and your cardiovascular system. And for those of us slowly creeping into menopause (bless you!), knowing your options, should you need HRT, is a good place to start – just in case.

Read Next:

Best Products for Menopause Relief

How to Deal with Crashing Fatigue During Menopause

Is Menopause Affecting Your Allergies?


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