Review of menopausal hormone therapy with estradiol and progesterone versus other estrogens and progestins

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Gynecological endocrinology : the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology




Estradiol; estrogens; menopause; progesterone; progestins


The objective of the present document was to review/summarize reported outcomes compared between menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) containing estradiol (E2) versus other estrogens and MHT with progesterone (P4) versus progestins (defined as synthetic progestogens). PubMed and EMBASE were systematically searched through February 2021 for studies comparing oral E2 versus oral conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) or P4 versus progestins for endometrial outcomes, venous thromboembolism (VTE), cardiovascular outcomes, breast outcomes, cognition, and bone outcomes in postmenopausal women. A total of 74 comparative publications were identified/summarized. Randomized studies suggested that P4 and progestins are likely equally effective in preventing endometrial hyperplasia/cancer when used at adequate doses. E2- versus CEE-based MHT had a similar or possibly better risk profile for VTE and cardiovascular outcomes, and P4- versus progestin-based MHT had a similar or possibly better profile for breast cancer and cardiovascular outcomes. E2 may potentially protect better against age-related cognitive decline and bone fractures versus CEE; P4 was similar or possibly better versus progestins for these outcomes. Limitations are that many studies were observational and some were not adequately powered for the reported outcomes. Evidence suggests a differential effect of MHT containing E2 or P4 and those containing CEE or progestins, with some evidence trending to a potentially better safety profile with E2 and/or P4.


Obstetrics and Gynecology