The hormone continuum: Accrual of women's health benefits

E. S. Linn*, A. M. Kaunitz, S. Schnare, M. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The hormone continuum is a treatment strategy that advocates maintaining hormone continuity, from the reproductive years into menopause and beyond. This entails the use first of oral contraceptives (OCs), which confer well-known health benefits - especially reductions in ovarian and endometrial cancers - besides effective contraception, and later, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which provides relief of perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms and protects older women from (a) decreasing bone mineral density; (b) cardiovascular disease, according to several studies; and (c) Alzheimer's disease, as suggested by a number of studies. In perimenopause, use of OCs declines by about one-half, and then by a further four-fifths up to menopause. This is unfortunate, because in these later reproductive years women are subject to unintended pregnancy, which in 65% of cases is terminated by abortion. Furthermore, women are thereby deprived also of alleviation of dysmenorrhea and even vasomotor symptoms that often characterize the perimenopause. After menopause is well established, a "seamless" transition to HRT can be made, often with the same progestin that was contained in the OC. This paper discusses risks as well as benefits of hormone therapy, especially of HRT, with an emphasis on patient counseling and individualizing of therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-72
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of fertility and women's medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Menopause
  • Noncontraceptive health benefits
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Patient counseling
  • Perimenopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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