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Contraceptives and HRT: Practical Suggestions

If your health or response to menopausal symptoms is leading you to consider HRT, you should talk with your doctor about the lowest dose and shortest duration of treatment possible. If you are concerned about increasing your risk for breast cancer, you should consider taking estrogen only supplements or exploring other lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) that may ease your transition into menopausal years. Remember that menopause is a normal, healthy phase of life, one that is celebrated by many women [Hvas, 2001].

Although oral contraceptives also alter the level of hormones to which a woman is exposed, the data are unclear about the possible risks of later breast cancer for women taking current low-dose formulations. The possible slight increase in cancer risk needs to be weighed against the high reliability of the pill as a means of birth control.