In Early Menopause? Estrogen May Prevent Stroke

For the last decade, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) has caused doctors to believed that giving estrogen either alone or with a progestin to treat menopause symptoms increased all women’s risk of stroke and heart attack. Now a new study in the March 2012 issue of the journal Menopause has changed that generalization, at least a little.

The authors reviewed 151 earlier studies on women who went through menopause before the age of 50 and looked at their stroke and heart attack risk. The women in the studies were in menopause for many reasons; some had their ovaries removed to prevent cancer or they might have had a benign tumor, or they could have been treated with chemotherapy or radiation that caused their ovaries to stop working and caused menopause before age 50, or they might have been a specific subgroup of women with premature menopause – a medical condition that throws women into menopause before age 40.

The findings of this study are important. Here is why: before the age of 50, estrogen protects women from stroke and heart attack – the exact opposite of what the WHI study showed. For women between the ages of 50 to 59 years of age, oral estrogen at a dose equivalent to 0.625 mg/day seems to protect against heart disease but increases the risk of stroke.  After age 60, estrogen seems to increase a woman’s risk of stroke and heart attack.

This positive information about estrogen adds to a 2011 study in JAMA that showed women who have had their uterus out and therefore only need to take estrogen but not progestin do not have an increased risk of breast cancer. For a video about this study, click here.

Here is what this new study means for you. The decision to take estrogen or HRT must be an individualized one; a conversation between you and your doctor that takes into account your risks, your age and your history. Prepare your questions before your visit and find out if estrogen is right for you, especially if you have had your uterus removed (hysterectomy) or if you are under age 50. I’ve made a video about this article below. For more information, visit DoctorSeibel.com. Please like this on Facebook to let your friends know.

Related:
A Primer on Menopause Hormone Therapy
Bioidentical Estrogens Are Safe, Right?
Alternatives to HRT for Hot Flashes

40 comments

Winn Adams
Winnie Adams3 years ago

Thanks

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for the post.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Molly S.
Molly S.4 years ago

Noted

Sam Richardson

My girlfriend is entering menopause, so this is a really good thing to come across right now. Hopefully it will offer some comfort when she is experiencing all the other discomforts of menopause.

Kerrie G.
Kerrie G.4 years ago

Chad A...About mimicking hormone functions...a herbalist I went to years ago told me that evening primose oil does too.

heather g.
heather g.4 years ago

The content of this article goes against both what my doctor and my gyne. thinks.

Don't worry, we're just women, and most medical research relates to mens health !!

Carolanne Powell
C Powell4 years ago

There is too much contradictary info on this subject. Stick to natural remedies.

KS Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.