Government Ends Estrogen Study

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The National Institute of Health is stopping a study of estrogen in women a year early, finding estrogen is too risky to use long term. But the study finds estrogen is an effective way to treat menopause symptoms. The government stopped another study in which women were taking a combination of estrogen and progestin back in 2002. But doctors say the risks of taking estrogen are different from estrogen and progestin.

The study finds a higher risk of stroke and possibly dementia in women taking estrogen. But there are benefits to osteoporosis and hip fractures. Estrogen did not increase the risk of breast cancer, according to the study. The study looked at 11,000 women who took estrogen or a placebo for seven years.

These findings lead doctors to tell women to talk to their health care providers about treatment. They say women currently taking estrogen don't necessarily need to stop taking their pills. But doctors recommend women not take estrogen to treat menopause symptoms for longer than five years.