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Gynecology

What happens if you don`t take estrogen?

10/23/2006

Question:

I just had a total hist. and wanting to know about estrogen and why you need it and if you do. I also wanted to find out if you don`t take estrogen what could happen.

Answer:

I guess it depends on whether or not you had your ovaries removed (a total hyst means your entire uterus was removed, but not necessarily your ovaries) and your age. Estrogen stops being produced once a woman goes through menopause and therefore you may not need it.

Before menopause, it helps maintain bone density and vaginal health. Once your ovaries are removed, you may experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness and a decline in bone density. Postmenopausally, estrogen should be used only for the reduction of severe hot flashes and vaginal dryness in the smallest dose for the shortest amount of time. This recommendation is because the use of estrogen has risks, albeit small, of heart attack, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer.

For bone protection, calcium, vitamin D and weight-bearing exercise are the primary preventative methods. There are other medications for bone loss in the post-menopausal years that don't carry the same risks. For pre-menopausal women with ovarian removal, estrogen replacement may be given until the time of menopause and then reduced as tolerated.

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Response by:

Thomas  A deHoop, MD Thomas A deHoop, MD
Formerly Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Medical Student Education
No longer associated