Despite some past evidence that hormone replacement might lower stroke risk in older women, new research shows that estrogen therapy does not protect women from recurrent strokes and may instead carry some risks. The findings add to growing evidence that hormone replacement therapy does not have the cardiovascular benefits doctors once believed.
Many doctors have long thought hormone replacement therapy might help protect women's cardiovascular health, warding off heart disease and, possibly, stroke. But recent research has questioned that reasoning.
The American Heart Association issued guidelines stating that women should not receive hormone replacement for the sole purpose of preventing recurrent heart attacks. This came after several studies suggested the combination therapy of estrogen and progestin actually raises the risk of recurrent heart attack, at least temporarily.
Currently, the only well-established benefits of hormone replacement are in reducing menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, and in preserving bone mass.