Menopausal hormone therapy appears to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in Plos One.

To investigate the association between hormone therapy and carpal tunnel syndrome risk, researchers conducted a secondary analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) hormone therapy trials. “Separate intention-to-treat analyses were performed for the 2 trials: the conjugated equine estrogens alone (CEE alone) and the trial of CEE plus medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) trial,” they explained.

Patients included in the analysis were ≥65 years old and were enrolled in Medicare (N=16,053). The women were split into 2 groups; those who had a hysterectomy received either CEE 0.625mg/day or placebo, while patients without hysterectomy were randomized to CEE + MPA (2.5mg/day) or placebo.

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Results showed that during a mean follow-up of 4.5 years in the CEE only trial (N=6,833), there were 203 incident cases of carpal tunnel syndrome in the intervention group vs 262 cases in the placebo arm (hazard ratio [HR] 0.78; 95% CI, 0.65–0.94; =.009). In the CEE + MPA trial, which followed participants for a mean of 3.7 years, 173 incident cases of carpal tunnel syndrome were observed in the intervention group compared with 203 cases with placebo (HR 0.80, 95% CI, 0.65–0.97;  =.027).

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“To our knowledge, this is the first large-scale observational analysis in a randomized trial population where CTS risk, a common and chronic problem that affects functioning and productivity, is suggested to be decreased by hormonal intervention,” the authors concluded. They added that “CTS could be added to the list of outcomes that may inform the decision-making process for women considering menopausal HT, particularly those who have other risk factors for CTS.”

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This article originally appeared on MPR