Updated: Feb 11, 2021
Over the years, there has been a lot of fear surrounding the topic of estrogen. Physicians are oftentimes concerned about prescribing it, and patients are too afraid to take it. A great deal of this unnecessary fear is, unfortunately, based on misinterpretation of studies. This is why it is so vital to link with a healthcare professional who is well versed on the topic of hormones!
The Women’s Health Initiative study, published in 2002, served as a landmark study for many women on hormones. In July 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative published the results of a hormonal trial and announced that the study was being terminated ahead of schedule because of adverse reactions (heart disease, breast cancer, blood clot, stroke). The study’s treatment drug was Prempro, which is a conjugated synthetic estrogen combined with medroxyprogesterone, a synthetic progesterone. Within a matter of 18 months, physicians became too nervous to prescribe hormones and patients were too afraid to take hormones. Half of the women in the United States who were using any hormone, including natural or bio-identical hormones, which was NOT the studied drug, stopped their hormonal treatment. This included 2 million women who had no uterus or ovaries, and no longer had sufficient estrogen protection.
The American Journal of Public Health followed up on this matter in a 2013 study. The effect of estrogen avoidance on hysterectomized women aged 50 to 59 was reviewed. Over a 10 year span, the study indicated that as many as 91,610 postmenopausal women died prematurely because of avoidance of estrogen therapy. The literature indicates that estrogen, when given in its natural form (not synthetic), can be cardioprotective. Not all estrogens are created equal (synthetic estrogen vs natural or bio-identical estrogen). Natural, or bio-identical estrogen, inhibits the development of atherosclerosis and plaque build. Estrogen further helps to maintain normal arterial blood flow. Hormones, when balanced and given properly, can reduce the risk of disease.
“Estrogen Therapy in younger postmenopausal women is associated with a decisive reduction in all-cause mortality, but estrogen use in this population is low and continuing to fall. Our data indicate an associated annual mortality toll in the thousands of women aged 50 to 59 years. Informed discussion between these women and their health care providers about the effect of estrogen therapy is a matter of considerable urgency” From the American Journal of Public Health in 2013.
This article is for educational purposes only. Be sure to always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any medications or supplements.