Hormone therapy remains the best-proven method for managing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Research continues, however, in the area to identify novel approaches to estrogen therapy that minimize any associated risks. Dr. Hugh Taylor from Yale School of Medicine will discuss some of the latest developments, including fetal estrogens, during the 2020 Pre-Meeting Symposium of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
According to Dr. Taylor, a number of improvements have been introduced in the past decade. These include new selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and the use of estrogens together with SERMs to replace progestins. Fetal estrogens represent one of the newest promising developments. Their unique properties distinguish them from estradiol, although they have some SERM-like properties.
Dr. Taylor noted that estriol and estetrol have entered clinical use with new data revealing promising characteristics. Specifically, estetrol decreases hot flashes and results in favorable cardiovascular changes while counteracting estradiol stimulation of the breast. Estriol similarly acts as a weak estrogen but can counteract some negative effects of estradiol.
"In addition to the already-established benefits, there is also reason to believe that these fetal estrogens may provide added benefits that have yet to be fully explored, making them even more promising," says Dr. Taylor.
"This presentation promises to offer some great insights into the future of hormone therapy," says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director. "It's important for healthcare providers to understand that these SERMS and estrogens have different biological characteristics, and some may have benefits over others, increasing opportunities for personalizing care for women."