Women in climacteric go through several metabolic, cardiovascular and body composition alterations. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has gained importance, and it is nearly a consensus that post-menopausal women should be given hormones due to benefits to health, such as prevention from coronary artery disease and osteoporosis. Administration of estrogens influence a series of metabolic parameters: orally administered, it causes increase in growth hormone levels and decrease in IGFI; as to transdermal route, the studies are not conclusive in relation to GH and IGFI levels, On the other hand, GH and IGFI may interfere in different ways in lipid and bone metabolism and in body fat distribution. The objective of this paper was to study variations in visceral fat distribution in different estrogen administration routes and, particularly, to check if administration route alters visceral fat amount. We studied 33 hysterectomized women, in climacteric, and divided them into three groups: 1)13 patients taking conjugated equine estrogen 0,625mg/day PO; 2) 10 patients taking 17b estradiol TTS 50, twice a week, transdermal route; 3) 10 patients taking placebo. These patients were submitted to: a) body composition analysis by means of bioimpedance analysis methods (RJL 101-A), bone and body densitometry (DEXA); b) fat distribution analysis, mainly visceral adiposity, by abdominal computerized tomography; c) rest metabolism measurement by DELTA-TRAC calorimeter. The subjects were assessed by the following laboratorial tests: cholesterol - total and fractions, triglyrecides and glucose at 0,6 and 12 months. Our results show a tendency to weight gain in the hormone taking groups in comparison with placebo group, and a tendency to increase in lean body mass measured by densitometry in the transdermal group when compared with the oral route group. This tendency did not attain statistic difference. Visceral fat amount did not change as observed by computerized tomography and also the basal metabolic rate was not different.
Estrogen; Menopause; Body composition; Visceral fat