Low doses of oestrogen ‘effective at relieving menopause symptoms’

A study has confirmed that low doses of oestrogen and progesterone therapy started early after menopause are effective at relieving many of the symptoms of the condition.

The Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS), conducted by the Kronos Longevity Research Institute, US, also found that therapy can improve mood, bone density, and several markers of cardiovascular risk.

Researchers wrote: “The KEEPS trial highlights the need for individualized decision making about hormone therapy.”

The KEEPS study is a four-year long, randomised, double-blinded clinical trial of low-dose oral or transdermal (skin patch) oestrogen and cyclic monthly progesterone given to healthy women aged between 42 and 59 (with a mean age of 52) within three years after menopause began.

The trial did not include women with evidence of cardiovascular disease (including coronary artery calcium scores of 50 or higher), levels of plasma cholesterol or triglycerides that would normally be treated with lipid-lowering drugs, severe obesity or a heavy smoking habit.

Although the researchers acknowledged that the KEEPS results underscore the need for additional research on hormone therapy in women who have recently entered menopause, the researchers said that “in the meantime, the findings from KEEPS should provide reassurance to women who are recently menopausal and taking hormone therapy for short-term treatment of menopausal symptoms”.

The majority of perimenopausal women will experience some type of menopause symptom. The onset or significant increases of vasomotor symptoms (VMS) - hot flushes and night sweats - are reported by up to 85 per cent of women at menopause.

Although the link between lowering oestrogen levels and VMS is widely recognised, there have been a lack of studies examining the link between hormones and less prevalent symptoms, such as depression or low mood, insomnia and irritability, and few studies have compared hormone therapy regimens during extended durations.

Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of The North American Menopause Society, said: “Lower doses are effective and should be considered when providers are looking to find the appropriate dose, type of therapy, and duration for an individual woman based on her needs and medical issues.”ADNFCR-2094-ID-801827537-ADNFCR