Women get better picture on hormone replacement therapy

July 14, 2017

Coronary heart disease risk did not increase or decrease Stroke risk increased 39 percent with the most pronounced increase occurring among women who were 60 years old and older Breast cancer risk decreased by 23 percent, which was not statistically significant and indicates that further study is necessary to determine estrogen impact on breast health Pulmonary embolism risk increased 34 percent Hip fractures decreased by 39 percent Evidence for a small increase in dementia and mild cognitive impairment were observed in women age 65 and older. A separate research report will be issued at a later date on these findings.

According to Manson, who is also a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, "In the early 1990s, an estimated 15 million women were taking HRT without clear information about the health benefits or risks associated with its use. These study results will help women and their clinicians make more informed choices about the use of estrogen therapy."

The Women's Health Initiative involves more than 161,000 women who are either participating in a set of clinical trials to test preventive measures for heart disease, fractures, breast and colorectal cancer, or in a large observational study. In addition to the trials of estrogen alone and estrogen plus progestin, other WHI trials are studying a low-fat diet pattern and calcium/Vitamin D supplementation. These trials are continuing.