To assess the safety and efficacy of oestriol in relieving post-menopausal symptoms 53 post-menopausal Japanese women with climacteric symptoms, 27 with natural menopause (group I) and 26 with surgically induced menopause (group II), received oral oestriol, 2 mg daily for 12 months. Clinical parameters including Kupperman index (KI) and the degree of satisfaction with symptomatic relief; serum concentrations of oestradiol, FSH and LH; serum lipids; blood pressure; bone mineral density, serum calcium (Ca), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and urinary Ca were compared between the two groups. Oestriol improved KI in groups I and II by 49 and 80% respectively. Satisfaction with treatment was 85% in group I and 93% in group II. For both parameters, values were significantly different between groups I and II (P < 0.05 for both). Serum concentrations of oestradiol, FSH and LH changed in group I versus group II 6 months after initiation. A significant decrease in serum ALP and Ca/Cr was observed in group I at 6 months. Except for serum triglycerides, oestriol had no significant effect on lipids. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly decreased in group I at 3 months versus baseline. Slight vaginal bleeding occurred in 14.3% of group I. Histological evaluation of the endometrium in all women of group I and ultrasound assessment of the breasts following 12 months of oestriol treatment found normal results in all women. Therefore, oestriol appeared to be safe and effective in relieving symptoms of menopausal women. The beneficial biochemical effects of oestriol were marked in the natural menopause. Overall, oestriol may serve as a good choice for hormone replacement therapy to protect against other climacteric symptoms in post-menopausal women who do not need medication for osteoporosis or coronary artery disease.