Two new reports from the Women’s Health Initiative
link hormone replacement therapy with gallbladder
Between ten and 15 per cent of the US population
suffer with gallstones each year, which may require
surgery to remove the gallbladder. Recent findings
from the Women’s Health Initiative, which is looking
at how hormone replacement therapy (HRT) affects
women’s health, now focus on gall bladder disease.
Women who had had a hysterectomy took either estrogen or placebo. Those who still had a womb took estrogen plus progestin or placebo. HRT was found to increase the risk of any gallbladder disease or surgery: 67 per cent with estrogen and 59 per cent with combined therapy. There was an 80 per cent risk of inflammation of the gallbladder with estrogen and 54 per cent increased risk with combined therapy.
Estrogen increases the risk of gallstones by 86 per cent and combined therapy increases it by 68 per cent. Put together, the researchers say that among women who have had a hysterectomy, taking estrogen leads to 31 excess ‘events’ per 10,000 women and combined therapy to an excess of 20 ‘events’ per 10,000 women.