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11.01.2014


Women on hormone therapy don't retain muscle

Women who have entered the menopause, whether naturally or unnaturally, and who want to retain strength and muscle tone, will only benefit from hormone therapy in the short term. Researchers at the Arizona Cancer Center followed over a thousand women undergoing hormone therapy for a number of years, and discovered that synthetic female hormones only protect muscle mass for the first three years.
Women who have entered the menopause, whether naturally or unnaturally, and who want to retain strength and muscle tone, will only benefit from hormone therapy in the short term. Researchers at the Arizona Cancer Center followed over a thousand women undergoing hormone therapy for a number of years, and discovered that synthetic female hormones only protect muscle mass for the first three years.

The researchers studied the body composition of 543 women who were on long-term oestrogen plus progesterone therapy [EPT], and another 453 women who were on oestrogen therapy alone [ET]. The counterpart to both the EPT and the ET group was a control group of about the same number of women who were not undergoing hormone therapy.

The figure on the left below shows that the two types of hormone therapy did not prevent the fat mass of the women from increasing slightly in the first three years.

The figure on the right below shows that the hormone therapy did prevent lean body mass from decreasing in the same period.


Women who have entered the menopause, whether naturally or unnaturally, and who want to retain strength and muscle tone, will only benefit from hormone therapy in the short term. Researchers at the Arizona Cancer Center followed over a thousand women undergoing hormone therapy for a number of years, and discovered that synthetic female hormones only protect muscle mass for the first three years.


But these effects were not permanent, as the figure below shows. The figure illustrates the changes in body composition in the period year 3 - 6 of hormone therapy. As you can see, all muscle mass retained during the first period of hormone therapy disappeared during the second period.


Women who have entered the menopause, whether naturally or unnaturally, and who want to retain strength and muscle tone, will only benefit from hormone therapy in the short term. Researchers at the Arizona Cancer Center followed over a thousand women undergoing hormone therapy for a number of years, and discovered that synthetic female hormones only protect muscle mass for the first three years.


In this same period there were no statistically significant effects on fat mass either.

The researchers also looked at bone density separately, but detected no differences between the women who had had hormone therapy and those in the placebo groups.



Conclusion: women who want to stay in good physical shape after the menopause are better off doing strength training than taking synthetic hormones.

Source:
Menopause. 2011 Jan;18(1):44-52.

More:
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Strength training keeps women in better shape than HRT 15.01.2010