Advertisement

As a woman, can estrogen protect me from heart disease?

Marina Johnson
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

Heart disease is the number one killer of women leading to 400,000 deaths each year. More women than men died last year of heart attacks! Estrogen offers the most protection in the prevention of heart disease. In women younger than 60 or within 10 years of menopause, estrogen lowers heart disease by 32% and reduces mortality by 40%. 

The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reported an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes with Prempro but average WHI participants were 20 years past menopause and many already had advanced heart disease. Fifty percent of WHI women were obese and current or past smokers, factors known to increase heart disease. The risks reported in WHI have been attributed to the use of oral synthetic estrogen that causes the liver to produce harmful products leading to heart disease and blood clots. Such risks of oral estrogen can be avoided by giving estrogen topically in the form of a patch, cream, gel or mist.

Read more in my guidebook for women, “Outliving Your Ovaries: An Endocrinologists Reviews and Risks and Rewards of Treating Menopause with Hormone Replacement.”

http://www.outlivingyourovaries.com/

Leigh Vinocur, MD
Emergency Medicine
In the past, doctors believed that estrogen would protect women from heart disease. Historically, it’s misconception that could have initially created the bias we see today in medicine. But one or more risk factors can totally negate any beneficial protection estrogen gives to women with respect to heart disease.

Continue Learning about Estrogen

How is a vaginal estrogen cream or suppository used to treat menopause?
Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MDDr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Estrogen can be applied directly to the vagina to ease the discomfort caused by vaginal atrophy. Atr...
More Answers
How much estrogen does a pregnant woman produce?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Beginning at week 14, the placenta is fully operational, pumping out continuous, high levels of estr...
More Answers
What are topical estrogen therapies?
Jan L. Shifren, MDJan L. Shifren, MD
Estrogen can be applied directly to the skin in gels, creams, and sprays. One product, EstroGel,...
More Answers
What are the risks of using estrogen?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Taking medications that contain estrogen increases your risk for developing endometrial cancer, ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.