A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, April 6,2011)) sheds new light on taking estrogen. Here is what it means to you.

Estrogen versus Estrogen and Progesterone and Uterine Cancer

Like all medications, estrogen is a powerful hormone with benefits and risks that have to be weighed and personalized for each woman. Forty years ago estrogen was so popular and considered so beneficial that almost all women were encouraged to take it from the time of menopause until death. Unfortunately, it was found that estrogen alone can cause cancer of the uterus. Women who have had a hysterectomy and had their uterus removed don’t have this problem.

Then researchers discovered that women who take daily estrogen combined with progesterone for at least 10 days of the month did not get uterine cancer. There were some risks of blood clots and strokes, but overall it was believed that estrogen plus progesterone protected the uterus from uterine cancer and estrogen helped to prevent heart disease. The heart disease part of this changed with more research.