(HealthDay News) — Thousands of postmenopausal hysterectomized women are estimated to die each year because of low utilization of estrogen therapy (ET), according to a study published online July 18 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Philip M. Sarrel, M.D., from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues assessed the effect of estrogen avoidance on mortality rates among 50- to 59-year-old hysterectomized women. Excess mortality among women assigned to placebo in the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial was related to the entire population of comparable women in the United States. The formula used also accounted for the decline in estrogen use noted between 2002 and 2011.

The researchers found that, over a 10-year period beginning in 2002, the estimated number of postmenopausal women who died prematurely because of the avoidance of ET ranged from a minimum of 18,601 to as many as 91,610.

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“ET in younger postmenopausal women is associated with a decisive reduction in all-cause mortality, but estrogen use in this population is low and continuing to fall,” the authors write. “Informed discussion between these women and their health care providers about the effects of ET is a matter of considerable urgency.”

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