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D. The Facts About Estrogen Therapy

Narrator: This is Science Today. The hormone estrogen has been found to improve memory, lower blood pressure and reduce the effects of osteoporosis. But according to Dr. Harry Genant of the University of California, San Francisco, the majority of women taking estrogen are trying to relieve the symptoms of menopause.

Genant: As the ovaries shut down in their function at the time of menopause, the ability of the body to produce estrogen is substantially impeded and therefore women start to have all the menopausal symptoms that are so widely recognized. So estrogen therapy is essentially an attempt to reverse this physiologic loss of estrogen.

Narrator: But there's a downside to some estrogen replacement therapies, particularly those which use animal-based estrogens.

Genant: The majority of women who are prescribed estrogens...the animal-based estrogens post-menopausally, actually either don't fill out their prescriptions or discontinue use of estrogen with a year.

Narrator: And that's because of side effects. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.