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Research published in the British Medical Journal in January 2019 revealed that HRT absorbed through the skin (in patches and gels) is safer than HRT swallowed in a tablet or capsule. Oral HRT products can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs, depending on the hormones used and the dose, but non-oral products don’t increase this risk.

In the Summer 2019 issue of The Menopause Exchange newsletter, Dr Kathryn Clement, consultant in Newcastle upon Tyne, discusses whether this study means that all women should be using non-oral HRT. She looks at the pros and cons of transdermal (through the skin) products – and whether these offer a safer approach for most women, rather than taking oral HRT (tablets and capsules).

“Women with risk factors for blood clots may be advised to use non-oral HRT,” says Norma Goldman. “But the question is whether all women should be offered patches and gels as a first-line choice. Every woman is different and many factors...

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