. During the first three years of hormone therapy use, bone density has been shown to increase steadily and then is maintained during continued use.
‘This research finds that women who continuously or recently use hormone therapy are less likely to develop hyperkyphosis (curvature of the spine). This leads to the conclusion that hormone therapy may help prevent age-related hyperkyphosis.’
Given that hyperkyphosis is also associated with bone loss and vertebral fractures
, the authors of the article "Patterns of menopausal hormone therapy use and hyperkyphosis in older women" hypothesized that hormone therapy may also be effective in helping prevent exaggerated spine curvature, sometimes called dowager's hump.
The study on which the article is based involved more than 9,700 women aged 65 years and older who were evaluated over a 15-year period. Women who reported continuous or remote past hormone therapy use had less pronounced kyphosis by the time they were in their mid-80s than never-users, supporting the argument for hormone therapy as a possible early postmenopause treatment for women concerned about their posture and fracture risk
. Beyond its adverse aesthetic effects, hyperkyphosis is associated with poor physical function, an increased risk of falls and fractures, and earlier mortality.
"Women who reported early use of hormone therapy were less likely to develop age-related kyphosis, and the protective benefits continued even after stopping hormone therapy
," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. "This supports a benefit of prescribing hormone therapy close to menopause."
The complete research is published in the journal Menopause
, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).