San Diego gynecologists were surveyed to determine 1985 prescribing patterns and indications for postmenopausal estrogens. More than 75% of the 103 respondents indicated that they prescribed estrogen for at least 75% of their recently postmenopausal patients, usually for a prolonged period. The dose and duration of estrogen were those recommended to prevent osteoporosis, which was given by all but one physician as a major indication for estrogen use. Only five gynecologists prescribed estrogen without a progestin, which was added primarily to reduce the risk of estrogen-associated endometrial cancer. These data suggest that San Diego gynecologists are well informed about the risks and benefits of estrogen-replacement therapy and are less concerned about the paucity of data concerning long-term progestin use in older women.