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The benefits of estrogen therapy post-hysterectomy

Category: General Health

Hysterectomies are a common procedure for women by the age of 60, according to the National Institutes of Health. After the surgery, doctors usually recommend that women undergo hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopausal hormone deficiencies. However, a study conducted at Yale University noted that estrogen use experienced a serious decline after 2002, after a report regarding the dangers of hormone therapy was released.

The Yale study found that coverage of the 2002 report primarily focused on women who had not undergone a hysterectomy and engaged in treatment that combined estrogen pill therapy and a progestin - something that is necessary for women to take in order to reduce their risk of uterine cancer. Women who have had a hysterectomy, on the other hand, do not need to take the second hormone, so they do not mirror the risks found in the hysterectomy group.

"Sadly, the media, women and healthcare providers did not appreciate the difference between the two kinds of hormone therapy," said Philip Sarrel, lead author of the study. "As a result, the use of all forms of FDA-approved menopausal hormone therapy declined precipitously."

The second half of the 2002 study examined women who had their uterus removed, and found that estrogen-only therapy proved to have beneficial health outcomes. The Yale report noted that the women who took estrogen had lower mortality rates over the course of a decade than the subjects who were given a placebo. Their risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer was also reduced.

Sarrel stated that by refusing estrogen therapy for fear of adverse side effects, women put themselves at a higher risk of both breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. He estimated that 50,000 deaths occurred as a result of refusing estrogen, and he expressed hope that the new report will encourage women to engage in estrogen-only therapy.

What are the other benefits of estrogen?
Lab tests might reveal that a patient has a significantly lower estrogen level than average. Of course, all post-menopausal women no longer produce estrogen and may consider looking into hormone replacement therapy. The Mayo Clinic recommends that women who experience uncomfortable hot flashes and night sweats talk to their doctor about systemic hormone therapy. In addition, estrogen replacement in the form of pills, skin patches, gels, creams or spray foam may also treat osteoporosis, a bone thinning disease.

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