Doctor's Archive

Menopausal Hormone Therapy . . . Current Concepts

Medical Author: Carolyn J. Crandall, MD, MS, FACP
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Well women, here we go again...Estrogen Therapy (ET) Confusion!

July 2002 brought a confusing mass of media reports for the public and the physicians, owing to publication of the results of the "Women's Health Initiative" (WHI).

First of all, it's interesting to notice what we ALREADY knew before the recent, highly publicized Women's Health Initiative:

  1. Hormone therapy (HT) probably does not protect against heart disease or stroke, contrary to what many researchers used to think several years ago.
  2. Hormone therapy (HT) probably does protect against colon cancer and hip fractures, but scientists were not really positive prior to WHI.
  3. Hormone therapy (HT), particular Estrogen/Progesterone Therapy (EPT), over the longer term probably increased the risk of breast cancer (but only after 5 years of continuous treatment), and the progesterone that is used with estrogen is probably bad for the breast also.
  4. Hormone therapy (HT) increases the risk of vein clots in the legs and lungs.