According to researchers from the University of California, they have observed that postmenopausal women who use estrogen are at a higher risk for developing Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a tissue change in the joints that causes pain in that area. Osteoarthritis affects 20 percent to 30 percent of adults over 40 years old. Experts estimate up to 70 percent of women 60 years or older suffer from osteoarthritis. They conducted a study to see if estrogen plays a role in the development of osteoarthritis in postmenopausal women.
More than 1,500 postmenopausal women between 40 and 90 years old took part in the study. The women were examined for osteoarthritis in the hip, hand and knee. Information on their estrogen use was also collected.
Researchers say 500 women reported using estrogen for at least one year. The study finds 30 percent of the women on estrogen had osteoarthritis and 25 percent who did not use estrogen had osteoarthritis. While osteoarthritis in the knee did not differ between the groups, there was a difference with hip and hand osteoarthritis. Women who were on estrogen were more likely to have hip or hand osteoarthritis. Even after researchers adjusted for other factors such as age, body mass index, smoking and exercise, women on estrogen were still more likely to have hip or hand osteoarthritis.
Researchers conclude postmenopausal estrogen use is associated with a higher prevalence of osteoarthritis. Researchers say this could be due to the complex effect of estrogen on growth factors, but further research is needed to determine the relationship between estrogen use and osteoarthritis.