Oestrogen may prevent strokes in women with premature or early menopause, according to US research which challenges conventional wisdom that oestrogen is a risk factor for stroke at all ages.
Mayo Clinic researchers combined results from their study with six other studies from around the world and found oestrogen was protective for stroke before age 50.
“We were very surprised because these results were unexpected. The old idea that oestrogen is always a problem in the brain has to be corrected,” said study author, neurologist and epidemiologist Dr Walter Rocca.
He suggested women experiencing premature menopause (before age 40) or early menopause (before 45) from natural causes or ovary removal consider taking oestrogen up to about age 50 to prevent stroke.
The study was published online ahead of print in Menopause October 2011.
Content updated November 2011