The Action of Ovarian Steroid Hormones on Tissues and Organs

  • Marianne J. Legato
Part of the Medical Science Symposia Series book series (MSSS, volume 13)


The gap between the physician’s conviction that gonadal steroids mitigate the consequences of aging and the postmenopausal patient’s willingness to use hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) is widening. An explosion of information over the past decade indicates that estrogen is a growth and maintenance hormone which acts on virtually every organ and tissue in the body; among other things, it maintains the central nervous system’s plasticity, safeguards the stability of the coronary vasculature, and ensures the optimal mass and architecture of bone. Nevertheless, this information has had little impact on patients: only 15–20% of postmenopausal women use HRT [1]. Over 1/3 of patients who begin therapy discontinue it within a matter of months. Berman’s group surveyed over 2,000 women for two years and found that 20% had stopped their medication at 6 months, 38% by a year, 51% at 18 months and 59% by two years. Roughly 2.5–3.0 of women quit each month, in a steady rate of decline [2]. Reasons for this include a reluctance to continue menstrual periods, fear of cancer, and a reaction to the side effects of HRT, usually related to progestin rather than to estrogen.


Postpartum Depression Estrogen Replacement Therapy Gonadal Steroid Gonadal Hormone Hormonal Replacement Therapy 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers and Fondazione Giovanni Lorenzini 1999

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  • Marianne J. Legato

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