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Am J Kidney Dis. 2003 Mar;41(3):643-50.

Permanent cessation of menses and postmenopausal hormone use in dialysis-dependent women: the HELP study.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, USA.



Earlier onset of menopause is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, especially among women with surgical menopause. Information on age at or reasons for the permanent cessation of menses among women with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) remains limited, although cardiovascular disease accounts for more than half of all cardiovascular deaths in this population.


We used data from the Hemodialysis and Estrogen Levels in Postmenopausal Patients Study to examine the reported age when menses permanently ceased, reasons for the permanent cessation of menses, and prevalence of surgical menopause. We also investigated the frequency of current and past postmenopausal hormone (PMH) use among dialysis-dependent women and their views toward PMH therapy.


Among 238 postmenopausal hemodialysis-dependent women, median age when menses permanently ceased was 48 years. Permanent cessation of menses was attributed to natural causes in 65%, surgical reasons in 30% (16%, hysterectomy without bilateral oophorectomy; 14%, hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy), kidney failure in 2%, radiation or chemotherapy in 1%, and other causes in 2%. Among women with a history of bilateral oophorectomy, 71% became menopausal before the age of 35 years. Current and past PMH use was reported by 6% and 17% of the women, respectively, whereas 77% were never administered hormones. Only 2% stated a kidney doctor ever recommended PMH therapy, and 54% said they would not take PMHs if prescribed by their kidney doctor.


Many women with ESRD experience surgical menopause before the age of 35 years, which may contribute to the excess cardiovascular mortality among women with ESRD. PMH use remains low among dialysis-dependent women. However, two randomized controlled trials have noted a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular events in women administered estrogen in combination with progestin. Thus, risks associated with PMH use may outweigh the benefits in a population with a very high rate of cardiovascular disease, such as postmenopausal hemodialysis-dependent women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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