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'Artificial' menopause and heart disease.

'Artificial' menopause and heart disease

Unlike natural menopause, removal of both ovaries mayincrease a woman's possibility of developing coronary heart disease -- but that increased risk can be eliminated by estrogen replacement therapy, according to a study that is a reminder of the uncertainty surrounding the relationship between estrogen and heart disease.

In the April 30 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, a groupfrom Harvard Medical School in Boston reports that women who have had their ovaries removed -- because of cysts, cancer or other reasons -- are about twice as likely to suffer from heart disease later. However, if a woman uses estrogen after ovary removal, or has only one ovary or only the uterus removed, no increased risk of heart disease is seen. Similarly, no increased risk is seen among women who undergo menopause naturally, say the scientists, who base their comparison of natural versus surgical menopause on a study of 121,700 women followed from 1976 to 1982. An earlier report from the same scientists in 1985 had concluded that estrogens protect against heart disease, in direct contrast to an accompanying article from another group of researchers, who reported that the incidence of coronary heart disease among women who used the hormone was nearly twice that among nonusers (SN: 11/2/85, p.279).
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Publication:Science News
Date:May 9, 1987
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