Hormone replacement therapy has both positive and negative side effects on health. Women may take hormone replacement therapy after naturally occurring menopause or after having a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or removal of the ovaries. The side effects of hormone replacement therapy depend on overall health, the dosage of the treatment and the existence of other medical conditions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hormone replacement therapy may protect women from developing cancer of the colon.
Hormone replacement therapy can protect women from developing osteoporosis and reduce related injuries, such as hip and knee fractures.
When taken at the time of menopause, hormone replacement therapy containing only estrogen may protect women from heart disease so long as they continue taking it.
Combination hormone replacement therapy that contains both estrogen and progesterone can increase the risk of stroke in women.
Hormone therapy can increase the risk of blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis, which can be a life-threatening condition.
Women taking combination hormone replacement therapy have an increased risk of developing cancer of the breast, although according to the Mayo Clinic, this risk decreases after cessation of hormone treatment.
Women considering using hormone replacement therapy should work with their doctors to find the lowest effective dose in order to minimize the negative health effects.