|| DukeMedNews || Low-dose HRT Could Cut Women’s Health Risk

This week on MedMinute … Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can build bone strength in women. But HRT is linked to increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer. A small-scale study suggests that using a lower dose and different type of hormone may reduce those health risks.

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After much controversy, the confusion about hormone replacement therapy continues. Last year, a Women’s Health Initiative study found that HRT lowered the risk for osteoporosis but increased the risk for heart disease and breast cancer. Now a new study finds that a low-dose estrogen therapy might offer the benefits of HRT, without the risk.

Dr. Tracy Gaudet is director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Duke University Medical Center.

“It looks very promising that a lower dose of estrogen and different type of estrogen can be very good for bone. They compared people not on the hormone to people on the hormone, and the people on the hormone clearly had better bone density.”

Gaudet says the size and duration of the study were limited, but the results show promise. Women taking estrogen had no more health problems than those not taking it, and bone density increased.

“We do know that estrogen is useful in that way. One of the important questions is: Could we use lower dose and/or a different type of estrogen and get the benefit without the risk? That’s a question we still don’t have the answer to.”

I’m Cabell Smith for MedMinute.