The association between hormone therapy use and changes in strength and body composition in early postmenopausal women

Menopause. 2004 Jul-Aug;11(4):438-46. doi: 10.1097/01.gme.0000113847.74835.fe.


Objective: To prospectively examine potential differences in upper- and lower-body muscle strength, lower-body power, lean muscle mass, total body fat, intra-abdominal fat, and energy expenditure (METS) variables in early postmenopausal women. Measurements were taken at baseline and 12 months.

Design: Prospective, 1-year non-randomized [self-selected hormone therapy (HT) and non-HT-replaced], longitudinal study with participation from 136 normally active, early [14.2 +/- 9.8 mo past menopause (51.1 +/- 3.0 y) mean age +/- SD] postmenopausal women. Total body fat mass, lean mass, and bone mass were assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (Hologic), METS (6-mo activity recall questionnaire) upper- and lower-body peak force by isokinetic dynamometry (KinCom 500H, Chattex Corp.), and leg power by the Bassey Power Rig (Nottingham, UK).

Results: We observed no significant differences in central adipose tissue, total fat mass, lean muscle mass, strength, or lower limb power. However, estrogen did promote a maintenance affect in bone mineral density at the spine and total hip and an increase in greater trochanter bone mineral density (P < 0.01) in the estrogen-replaced group.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that HT does not play a role in either increasing or maintaining strength, lean muscle mass, lower limb power, or the attenuation of increases in total body or abdominal fat, at least in this group of postmenopausal women during the initial years of menopause

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP) / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hip / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Postmenopause / drug effects
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Estrogens
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP)