Menopausal hormone therapy and gallbladder disease: the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP)

S Schwarz, H Völzke, S E Baumeister, J Hampe, M Dören
Clinical Endocrinology 2007, 67 (1): 51-9

OBJECTIVE: Several studies suggest that oral menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is associated with an increased risk of gallbladder disease. It has been hypothesized that nonoral MHT may reduce the risk of cholelithiasis. The objective of the present study was to analyse the association between (1) use of life-time MHT (ever use) and gallbladder disease and (2) nonoral use of MHT and gallbladder disease.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study using population-based data from the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP).

POPULATION: The study population included 994 postmenopausal women, aged 40-79 years. The subgroup of current oral and nonoral MHT users comprised 139 women.

METHODS AND MEASUREMENTS: Sociodemographic, medical and reproductive characteristics were based on computer-assisted personal interviews, and selected laboratory parameters were analysed. Gallbladder disease was defined by either a prior history of cholecystectomy or the presence of current sonographically diagnosed gallstones. Data analyses consisted of descriptive, bivariable and multivariable procedures. We performed Poisson regression with Huber/White standard errors to investigate the association between ever use, current nonoral use of MHT and gallbladder disease.

RESULTS: We found no significant association between ever use of MHT and gallbladder disease and sonographically diagnosed gallstones in fully adjusted analyses. Women who used MHT had a significantly higher risk for cholecystectomy compared to nonusers. There was no association between nonoral use of MHT and gallbladder disease.

CONCLUSIONS: Our analyses do not lend support to the hypothesis that use of MHT is associated with gallbladder disease.

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