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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

Read more: Aging, Health, Healthy Aging, Heart & Vascular Disease, Menopause, Stay Well With Dr. Seibel, Videos, Videos, , , ,

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Dr. Mache Seibel

Women's health expert and guest speaker Dr. Mache Seibel addresses consumers' critical needs from weight control to HRTmenopause and beyond. He served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for 19 years and is founder of My Menopause Magazine on the Apple Newsstand (http://bit.ly/MyMenoMag). Download the Free App and first Free issue. He works with companies and organizations to bring exciting educational content to consumers. Visit his award-winning website DoctorSeibel.com to sign up for his free monthly newsletter.

40 comments

+ add your own
7:22PM PDT on Aug 29, 2012

Thanks

1:48AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Thanks for the post.

2:03PM PDT on May 5, 2012

Thanks for the info.

2:01PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Thank you

7:01PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Noted

7:16PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

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.

11:53PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

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

11:42PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

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 !!

1:44PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

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

6:03AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Thanks for the article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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