Estrogen & IBS
Estrogen, whether from hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, appears to influence the biological pathways that lead to inflammatory bowel disease. However, for reasons still unknown, the effects are different for HRT and the Pill. Those are the findings of a study presented in San Diego during the annual Digestive Disease Week.
According to meeting coverage by MedPage Today, Hamed Khalili, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reported that postmenopausal women who take HRT "are at increased risk for developing ulcerative colitis, whereas younger women using oral contraceptives are more likely to develop Crohn's disease."
Regarding why the effects are different for the two groups, Khalili noted that "estrogen has pleiotropic effects," meaning that it can produce multiple results. MedPage Today says that he speculated that there may be different risk factors at different ages, but said he had no specific mechanism to offer.
Until the research is published in a peer-reviewed journal, the findings should be considered preliminary.