Postmenopausal women have a tough choice to make when deciding whether or not to take estrogen. Studies suggest that taking estrogen can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and heart disease by 50%, but research has also linked estrogen to a 43% increase in breast cancer deaths. Experts suggest that the decision whether or not to take estrogen should be determined based on each woman’s personal and family history, while also considering the psychological and physical comfort or discomfort she experiences as a result of taking estrogen.
In some cases, changing diet and or exercise patterns may be more beneficial than estrogen treatment in terms of preventing heart disease, and spares women an increased risk for breast cancer. On the other hand, studies have shown that, among women taking estrogen for 10 years, the benefits of estrogen far outweighed the risk of breast cancer, and women taking estrogen lived longer than women not taking estrogen. Women who are considering taking estrogen should consult their physician before making a decision.