Benefits and risks of postmenopausal hormone therapy when it is initiated soon after menopause

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Aged; Breast Neoplasms; Colorectal Neoplasms; Contraceptive Agents, Female; Coronary Disease; Endometrial Neoplasms; Estrogen Replacement Therapy; Estrogens; Estrogens, Conjugated (USP); effects; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Fractures, Bone; Humans; Incidence; Medroxyprogesterone Acetate; Menopause; Middle Aged; Postmenopause; Progestins; Pulmonary Embolism; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors; Stroke; Survival Rate; Thrombosis; Time Factors; Washington


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Studies


The authors further analyzed results from the Women's Health Initiative randomized trials (1993-2004) of conjugated equine estrogens, with or without medroxyprogesterone acetate, focusing on health benefits versus risks among women who initiated hormone therapy soon after menopause. Data from the Women's Health Initiative observational study (1993-2004) were included in some analyses for additional precision. Results are presented here for incident coronary heart disease, stroke, venous thromboembolism, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, or hip fracture; death from other causes; a summary global index; total cancer; and total mortality. Hazard ratios for breast cancer and total cancer were comparatively higher (P < 0.05) among women who initiated hormone therapy soon after menopause, for both regimens. Among these women, use of conjugated equine estrogens appeared to produce elevations in venous thromboembolism and stroke and a reduction in hip fracture. Estrogen plus progestin results among women who initiated use soon after menopause were similar for venous thromboembolism, stroke, and hip fracture but also included evidence of longer-term elevations in breast cancer, total cancer, and the global index. These analyses provide little support for the hypothesis of favorable effects among women who initiate postmenopausal estrogen use soon after menopause, either for coronary heart disease or for health benefits versus risk indices considered.

DOI of Published Version



Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Jul 1;170(1):12-23. Epub 2009 May 25. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of epidemiology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID