What effect does estrogen have on the heart?

Even a decade ago, estrogen was thought to have a protective effect on the heart in menopausal and postmenopausal women and to reduce heart disease. This made sense, as women’s risk for heart disease increases when their estrogen levels decrease and menopause begins. However, the conventional wisdom that supplementing estrogen in postmenopausal women would reduce heart disease was proven false by a growing body of research, including the data from a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative. Estrogen administered as hormone replacement therapy was shown to have no effect on heart health but to increase stroke risk. Combination therapies including both the hormones estrogen and progesterone were shown to actually raise the risk of heart attack and stroke and also of breast cancer.

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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.