Washington: Post-menopausal women, who often suffer from joint pain, could find some long-term relief by taking estrogen-only medication, a new study has revealed.
Previous studies of estrogen`s influence on joint symptoms had produced mixed results, so researchers examined the findings of the Women`s Health Initiative (WHI), the largest-ever study of the use of hormonal therapy in post-menopausal women.
They examined the findings of the women enrolled in the Estrogen-Alone program, in which women who had undergone a hysterectomy received either estrogen or a placebo.
"We found that post-menopausal women who received estrogen-only medication reported significantly lower frequency of joint pain than women who received a placebo," Rowan T. Chlebowski, MD, PhD, corresponding author of the study and a Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute lead researcher said.
"Three to five percent more of the women receiving estrogen reported less joint pain than the women receiving a placebo," he said.
Among the 10,739 post-menopausal women enrolled in the Estrogen-alone program, 77 percent reported they had joint pain and 40 percent experienced swelling of their joints.
After one year of treatment, joint pain frequency was lower among women receiving estrogen-only medication when compared with the placebo group (76.3 percent vs. 79.2 percent).
After three years, in a subset of the women in the study, the participants who received estrogen continued to have joint pain less frequently than women who received a placebo (74.2 percent vs. 79.8 percent).
"These findings suggest estrogen may provide modest but sustained relief for post-menopausal women who suffer from joint pain," Dr. Chlebowski said.
The study is published online by the journal Menopause.