According to a recent study researchers say the estrogen pills do not reduce the risk of heart disease and can lead to an increased risk of stroke.
Researchers say their results show estrogen alone does not appear to increase or decrease the risk of heart disease as combination hormone therapy is believed to do. Estrogen also does not appear to affect a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers say the hormone does appear to decrease the risk of hip fractures, yet, they found estrogen increases the risk of stroke, and preliminary data shows it may also increase the risk of dementia.
The finding that estrogen increases the risk of stroke is similar to what was found in the WHI study of estrogen plus progestin, which was stopped in July 2002. In that study, women who took estrogen and progestin had about eight more strokes for every 10,000 women per year than those on placebo. The previous study also showed estrogen plus progestin increased the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and blood clots.
Researchers from the NIH say subjecting healthy women to a possible increased risk of stroke is not acceptable. They say this is especially true if estrogen alone does not affect heart disease, which appears to be the case.
Thus researchers conclude by saying that patients and doctors should weight the risks and benefits before using estrogen or estrogen with progestin to treat postmenopausal symptoms.