Intravisceral Abdominal Fat Mass Reduction With Menopausal Hormone Therapy

Central adiposity in elderly women has been linked to a decrease in lifespan.
Central adiposity in elderly women has been linked to a decrease in lifespan.
Researchers examined body mass index differences in current, past, and never users of menopausal hormone therapy.

Long-term cessation of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) does not preserve the level of fat mass reduction experienced by current MHT users, according to research presented at the 2017 World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, and Musculoskeletal Diseases, that took place March 23-26 in Florence, Italy.

Researchers at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland conducted a cross-sectional, population-based study using data from 1500 women enrolled in the OsteoLaus cohort study to determine the correlation between MHT and changes to fat and lean tissue.

OsteoLaus is a cohort of women 50 to 80 years of age living in Lausanne, Switzerland with clinical risk factors for osteoporosis who were regularly evaluated for osteoporosis progression.

Study investigators assessed participants’ current or past MHT use via questionnaire. Body composition was evaluated using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in a subgroup of 1094 participants. The remaining 972 participants were divided into 3 groups as follows:  

n Age (SD) Body Mass Index (SD)
Never Users (NU) 505 61 (7.8) 25.2 (4.1) kg/m2
Current Users (CU) 205 62.5 (6.7) 25.9 (4.5) kg/m2
Past Users* (PU) 262 66.6 (6.2) 26.1 (4.2) kg/m2

*Among PU, average time since MHT withdrawal was 8.4 years

Results across all groups were age-adjusted. Total fat mass was lowest in the current users (CU) group and highest in the past users (PU) group (P =.05); trunk fat mass was 10.35±4.05, 10.83±4.35, and 11.35±4.14 kg in the CU, NU, and PU groups, respectively (P = .04).

No difference in gynoid fat mass was noted, but a “marked decrease” of intravisceral fat was identified in the CU group compared with the NU and PU groups (P <.01).

“MHT is associated with less adiposity, due to reduction in android fat mass,” the researchers concluded.

“The significant decrease of intravisceral fat mass in [current users] is of particular interest, given the strong link of the latter with cardiovascular risk.” 

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Papadakis G, Hans DH, Vollenweider P, Waeber G, Marques-Vidal P, Lamy O. Menopausal hormone therapy is associated with reduced fat mass and in particular a significant decrease of intravisceral abdominal fat: the OsteoLaus cohort. Abstract P838. Presented at: 2017 World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases. March 23-26, 2017; Florence, Italy.