DVT and Bioidentical HRT

One of my patients had a DVT and wanted to know whether she could continue with the HRT, and did the BHRT cause the DVT. This is of course an important question. In the past we would have said yes to both those questions. However, we now know better and the research and evidence proves the opposite. I have had patients who have had  DVTs and some even pulmonary emboli, who I have given BHRT knowing it was safe to do so. The difference is in the mode of delivery – as long as it is transdermal .(troches and creams) then it does not increase the DVT (VTE in medical lingo) risk.

Here is only some of the evidence I am referring to – I have dozens of other medical journal articles showing the same thing, as well as being included in the guidelines of all the major menopause and endocrine associations. I have highlighted the important bits – note VTE  is venous-thrombo-embolism  – viz a blood clot.

Climacteric. 2012 Apr;15 Suppl 1:3-10.

What’s new in hormone replacement therapy: focus on transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone.


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20036, USA.


The original conclusions of the Women’s Health Initiative study have been questioned as a result of the availability of age-stratified data. Initial concerns regarding the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in association with the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have been replaced with concerns regarding thromboembolic disease, encompassing venous thromboembolism (VTE), particularly in younger postmenopausal women, and stroke, particularly in older women. The original publication of the study results led to a dramatic decrease in the use of oral HRT; however, the use of transdermal HRT has increased over recent years. Guidelines from the North American Menopause Society, the Endocrine Society, the International Menopause Society, and specific guidelines from the European Menopause and Andropause Society for the management of menopausal women with a personal or family history of VTE all contain positive statements regarding both transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone. Unlike oral estrogens, transdermal estradiol has been shown not to increase the risk of VTE, or stroke (doses ≤ 50 μg), and to confer a significantly lower risk for gallbladder disease. Unlike some progestogens, progesterone is also not associated with an increased risk of VTE, or with an increased risk of breast cancer. Based on these data, which are now included in the guidelines, the use of transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone could reduce or possibly even negate the excess risk of VTE, stroke, cholecystitis, and possibly even breast cancer associated with oral HRT use.


Climacteric. 2012 Apr;15 Suppl 1:11-7.

Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and cardiovascular disease: the value of transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone.


Department of Endocrinology and Menopause, Center of Women’s Health, University Women’s Hospital, Tuebingen, Germany.


Most available postmenopausal hormone replacement therapies (HRT) offer similar efficacy, but differ with respect to the cardiovascular risks associated with their use. There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that, unlike oral estrogens, transdermal estradiol does not increase the risk of venous thromboembolism, probably due to its lack of effect on the coagulation cascade, including thrombin generation and resistance to activated protein C, and does not increase the risk of stroke. It is cardioprotective, significantly reducing the incidence of myocardial infarction compared with non-users; it significantly reduces the incidence of new-onset diabetes, a risk factor for myocardial infarction. Micronized progesterone has also been shown not to increase the risk of venous thromboembolism and further reduced the incidence of new-onset diabetes when combined with transdermal estrogen. Micronized progesterone has a neutral effect on the vasculature, including a neutral or beneficial effect on blood pressure. Therefore, experimental and clinical data indicate that transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone could represent the optimal HRT, particularly in women at risk of adverse events.

Finally, this study from the well respected British Medical Journal (BMJ)

Effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular events in recently postmenopausal women: randomised trial

BMJ  2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6409(Published 9 October 2012)
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6409


Objective To investigate the long term effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular outcomes in recently postmenopausal women.

Results At inclusion the women on average were aged 50 and had been postmenopausal for seven months. After 10 years of intervention, 16 women in the treatment group experienced the primary composite endpoint compared with 33 in the control group (hazard ratio 0.48, 95% confidence interval 0.26 to 0.87; P=0.015) and 15 died compared with 26 (0.57, 0.30 to 1.08; P=0.084). The reduction in cardiovascular events was not associated with an increase in any cancer (36 in treated group v 39 in control group, 0.92, 0.58 to 1.45; P=0.71) or in breast cancer (10 in treated group v 17 in control group, 0.58, 0.27 to 1.27; P=0.17). The hazard ratio for deep vein thrombosis (2 in treated group v 1 in control group) was 2.01 (0.18 to 22.16) and for stroke (11 in treated group v14 in control group) was 0.77 (0.35 to 1.70). After 16 years the reduction in the primary composite outcome was still present and not associated with an increase in any cancer.

Conclusions After 10 years of randomised treatment, women receiving hormone replacement therapy early after menopause had a significantly reduced risk of mortality, heart failure, or myocardial infarction, without any apparent increase in risk of cancer, venous thromboembolism, or stroke.

About Dr Colin Holloway

Gp interested in natural hormone treatment for men and women of all ages

Posted on October 14, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on DVT and Bioidentical HRT.

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