The results of the WHI study can be hard to understand. Some of the women in this study took HRT (estrogen and progestin) and some took ERT (estrogen only). Each group was compared to women who took a placebo.
by Sari Harrar
Anna Albrecht was a fit 31-year-old mother of two when the Big Leak happened one day. "I was jumping rope at the gym when — splash! — I completely wet my pants," she recalls. "I was so embarrassed." So did Albrecht go to the doctor? "Not for seven years," she admits. "I just didn't jump rope."
The leaks have stopped, thanks to a class aimed at strengthening her pelvic floor — the hammock of muscles that supports the internal organs, including the bladder, bowels, and...
The number of broken bones in women who are past menopause.
The WHI study also found that in a small number of women, using ERT increased the risk of:1
The WHI study found that women who took ERT had fewer broken bones than women who did not take ERT. The study also found that women who took ERT did not have an increased risk for heart disease or for colorectal cancer.1 Follow-up studies have shown that a woman's age when she started taking ERT affects whether she has an increased risk for heart problems and for colorectal cancer. The reduced risk for hip fracture did not continue after ERT was stopped.2
The link between ERT and breast cancer is unclear. One study showed that the risk for breast cancer was lower for women who took ERT even after they stopped taking it.2
It is important to remember that average
risks from HRT and ERT are low among the general population of women. But your personal risk that hormone therapy may lead to certain health problems, such as heart disease or breast cancer, may be lower or higher depending on your risk factors for those health problems.
For more information about the Women's Health Initiative study, see the National Institutes of Health website about the WHI at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi.
National Institutes of Health (2009). Women's Health Initiative. Available online: