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Hormone Replacement Therapy and Stroke

Stroke is more common in women than in men and is the third leading cause of female death. In this report, we will review information from studies on hormone replacement therapy and stroke. Numerous hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and human growth hormone have at one time or another been linked (often falsely) to increased stroke incidence. It is also necessary to look at other mitigating factors.


Our goal here is to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about HRT and strokes.

Q – Can hormone replacement therapy cause strokes in women and men?

A – Although the risk of developing a stroke as a direct cause of hormone replacement therapy is rare, it can never be said that anything is impossible. Hormones have protective benefits for the body and the brain.

  • Estrogen provides benefits such as vasodilation, vascular reactivity, neuroprotective, and is antithrombotic.
  • Progesterone not only does not increase the risk of stroke, but it might have the potential for treating stroke victims for better overall improvement. (Important – we are discussing the use of natural progesterone and not synthetic progestin which can increase stroke risk.)
  • Testosterone improves blood flow by increasing red blood cell production and decreasing LDL cholesterol levels. It has not been shown to increase the risk of strokes or heart attacks.
  • Human growth hormone also has neuroprotective benefits for the brain. HGH improves blood cell production and circulation, lowers LDL cholesterol, and enhances overall well-being.

Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Increase the Risk of Stroke?

Fear of stroke is well-grounded. A stroke is a debilitating condition that can take away a person’s quality of life. The severity of the stroke can lead to a total inability to care for one’s self and lead to long-term treatment. It is no wonder that adults who need HRT wonder about hormone replacement therapy and risk of stroke. Although hormone therapy may provide many benefits, no one wants to use a treatment that could create a bigger problem. That should not be a concern when hormone replacement is performed under the authorization and supervision of a hormone specialist.

Q – Does hormone replacement therapy cause strokes when used without doctor approval?

A – Although there is no definitive link between highly elevated hormone levels and stroke, this is a possibility. Increasing any hormone higher than normal can result in numerous side effects. Adverse reactions in the body are never good. You want to ensure that an experienced doctor is diagnosing and treating a hormonal imbalance. That way, you have the highest level of care and the lowest risk factors.

Q – Is there more of a concern regarding hormone replacement therapy and stroke risk in postmenopausal women?

A – Hormone therapy is not meant for long-term use. Some women who receive HRT for many years may have a slight increase in stroke risk. Being overweight, not getting enough exercise, improper diet, and smoking are higher risk factors for a stroke. A hormone specialist will always way the benefits vs. the risks when prescribing HRT.

Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Provide Benefits After a Stroke?

Receiving certain types of hormone replacement therapy after stroke can provide numerous benefits. Progesterone and human growth hormone are the two most-often discussed hormones.

Progesterone has been studied on rats following an ischemic stroke with mixed results. More research is necessary before clinical trials on people are recommended at this time. Progesterone may have benefits for certain subsets of patients at later times.

Regarding human growth hormone replacement therapy and stroke, there is a bit more research currently available. HGH has shown beneficial in rats and mice for improvement in the formation of new blood vessels, memory, regaining motor skills, neuron regeneration, and decreased loss of brain tissue.

In adult trials, HGH results following a stroke have led to more energy, improved daily activity, and reduced loss of brain fiber. Brain plasticity also reaps benefits from the formation of new neurons and synapses between the neurons. HGH helps protect the neurons from oxidative stress by way of increasing insulin growth factor 1 levels in the bloodstream. In turn, stroke victims may experience an increase in neurotransmitter receptors and reduce apoptosis (cellular death).

More information about hormone therapy and strokes you can find at

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