Oral estrogen therapy in postmenopausal women is associated with loss of kidney function

Kidney Int. 2008 Aug;74(3):370-6. doi: 10.1038/ki.2008.205. Epub 2008 May 21.


Women are generally protected against progressive loss of kidney function; however, this advantage seems to diminish with menopause. Because of conflicting reports on the association between use of hormone therapy and kidney function we studied 5845 women (1459 on hormone therapy and 4386 non-users) who were over 66 years of age and had at least 2 serum creatinine measurements during the 2 year study period. After adjustment for covariates, hormone use (estrogen-only, progestin-only, or both) was associated with a significant loss of estimated GFR as the primary outcome along with an increased risk of rapid loss of kidney function as the secondary outcome compared to non-users. This increased rate of loss was associated with oral but not transvaginal estrogen use. An increased cumulative dose of estrogen was also associated with a greater decline in estimated GFR. Our study shows an independent association in a dose-dependent manner of estrogen use and loss of kidney function in this elderly population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Estrogens / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Diseases / epidemiology
  • Postmenopause*
  • Progestins / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors


  • Estrogens
  • Progestins