Authors: Hayashi T, Ito I, Kano H, Endo H, Iguchi A.
Publication Year: 2000
Citation: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2000;55(4):B183-90; discussion B191-3.
The effects of estrogen replacement on blood vessels and bone in very elderly women are not well known because uterine bleeding is a problem when estradiol is given without progesterone. In this study, the weaker estrogen estriol was used because of its known safety when given without progesterone. In 24 women around 80 years old, all of whom were diagnosed with osteoporosis, half received 2 mg/day estriol for 6 months and the other half did not receive estriol. In the estriol treated group, endothelial function (a measure of cardiovascular health) and bone mineral density significantly improved compared to the control group. The estriol treatment increased both plasma estriol and estradiol levels, but uterine bleeding occurred in only 1 treated woman. The increase in bone resorption may have been due to the increase in plasma estradiol. The authors conclude that estriol is safe and effective for elderly patients.