There are ways to boost hormone production and many therapies use this as a strategy to tackle various health issues.
But according to a new study in the journal Menopause, boosting female sex hormones should not be done artificially as it can cause severe reflux disease (GERD).
Hormone therapy for menopause involves the use of artificially prepared estrogen and progestogen to replace those that are no longer naturally produced by women’s bodies.
Previous studies found an association between female sex hormones and GERD symptoms during pregnancy and with oral contraceptive use. This sparked the researchers to investigate the same for hormones used to treat menopause.
In this study, the authors reviewed the best available research on this relationship. They included five studies in their analysis, involving over a million participants.
When they put all the studies’ findings together, they reached the following conclusions:
1. There was a significant direct association between estrogen use and GERD, with the former increasing the risk of the latter by 41%.
2. Progestogen use increased women’s risk of GERD by 39%.
3. Both women who currently used hormone therapy and women who had used it in the past had an increased risk of GERD.
According to the literature analyzed, estrogen can increase stomach acid production, and can also boost a neurotransmitter that relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
Progesterone relaxes esophageal muscles as well as the LES (the ring of muscles between the stomach and esophagus that closes the stomach so that its contents cannot flow upward). All of this contributes to GERD symptoms.