A new large study from Korea shows that women receiving Hormone therapy, HT had a significantly lower prevalence of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis compared with women who did not take hormones. The study results have been published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
Osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal disorder in older persons and is the leading cause of pain and physical disability. There is an ongoing debate regarding the relationship between knee osteoarthritis and hormone therapy (HT), with small-scale studies providing mixed results. Because estrogen has an anti-inflammatory effect at high concentrations, it has been hypothesized that hormone changes in women, especially decreasing estrogen levels, may lead to an increase in osteoarthritis after menopause.
As of now, the most common treatments for knee osteoarthritis include surgery or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, both of which are associated with risks such as surgical complications or gastrointestinal disorders.
Several small studies have shown that HT not only reduces histologic changes in the cartilage involved in osteoarthritis, but it also reduces the chronic pain. But no large-scale studies have examined symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and HT. This latest study out of Korea is based on data from nearly 4,800 postmenopausal women. It concluded that the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis was significantly lower in participants using HT than those not taking hormones. The authors did note, however, that additional research is warranted to adjust for such other variables such as age and body mass index.
“Past and current users of hormone therapy had a lower prevalence of knee joint osteoarthritis, suggesting that hormone therapy may be protective against knee osteoarthritis,” says Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. “This study suggests that estrogen taken at menopause may inhibit cartilage damage and reduce knee deterioration seen on x-rays.”
For more details click on the link: DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001280