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Hormones & Risk of Blood Clots

Did you know that postmenopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may have an increased risk of developing deep venous thromboembolism post-surgery? This risk appears to be restricted to the first year of HRT use and is estimated at 2–3 times that of non‐HRT users. The good news was that women who had used HRT absorbed through the skin, in the form of gels, patches, or creams, did not have an increased risk of blood clots. If you are undergoing a surgical procedure, a comprehensive discussion between you and your healthcare providers is recommended.

Deep Vein Thrombosis ( DVT) is a blood clot that forms in the body's veins, often in the leg after surgery. Yearly roughly 332,000 Americans have a hip replacement surgery, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dangerous blood clots are a risk for each person getting this surgery.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), you are at the most significant risk for developing a DVT two to five days after your operation. AAOS reports that you still can be at risk for at least three months after your surgery. If you're planning to have a joint replacement surgery, alert your provider to any risk factors for DVT that you might have, like the use of hormone replacement therapy.

Risk Factors for blood clots ( DVT):

  • Hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives
  • Family history or personal history of DVT
  • Other diseases or conditions, including cancer, varicose veins, heart disease, and inflammatory bowel disease

Symptoms to Watch for:

  • Chest pain
  • Painful breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen veins
  • Warmth in the leg
  • Pain and tenderness in the leg
  • Low-grade fever
  • Irregular heartbeat

Before your surgery, talk with your providers about preventive steps for preventing blood clots after surgery.

Dr. Paul Jacob is a hip and knee surgeon in Oklahoma City, and a pioneer of robotic joint replacement surgery. Dr. Jacob has been published in The Journal of Knee Surgery, Journal of Orthopedics, Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, Arthritis & Rheumatology, and The Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

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