How effective is hormone therapy in protecting my bones?

David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Many studies have demonstrated that hormone therapy can hamper bone loss and boost bone density. The Postmenopausal Estrogen/Progestin Interventions (PEPI) trial found that women on hormone therapies gained bone density. Over a three-year period, the bone density of the women taking hormones rose, on average, 4% at the spine and 2% at the hip. But women who weren't taking hormones lost bone, to the tune of 1.8% at the spine and 1.7% at the hip.
The Women's Health Initiative found that two different types of hormone treatments -- estrogen-only and combined hormone therapy (estrogen and progestin) -- protected against hip fracture. The study of Prempro, the estrogen-and-progestin formula, established that this medication reduced the risk for hip fractures and spinal fractures by 34% each. Similarly, the estrogen-only formulation (Premarin) was effective in decreasing hip fracture.

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