Results of two new studies suggest that low-dose estrogen therapy should be considered first line treatment for women experiencing menopausal hot flushes and bleeding. The June issue of Fertility and Sterility says low-dose estrogen therapy is as effective as high-dose estrogen in treating menopausal symptoms. Low-doses are actually are more effective in stopping the irregular bleeding.
Dr. Wulf H. Utian, a professor at Case Western Reserve University and president of The North American Menopasue Society in Cleveland, Ohio, headed the research. He noted that side effects such as breast tenderness, irregular bleeding and negative mood, as well as the fear of breast cancer risk, cause many women to discontinue Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
While HRT can relive some of the painful and debilitating symptoms of menopause, reduce the risk of heart disease and protect aginst endometrial cancer, it may also raise a woman's risk of breast cancer, particularly at higher doses. On the contrary, the advantages of low-dose therapy is that a patient can get the same effect as with higher doses and also reduce the side effects.
A second study of the same group of women found that lower doses of hormones stopped irregular bleeding more effectively than did higher dose HRT over one year, particularly in the earlier stages of therapy.