Praise for 
Estrogen Matters:

"I hope Estrogen Matters draws enough attention to counter the fears and misinformation about HRT that so many women, and their physicians, still hold." Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, former President and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research

“Well written, insightful, and hard hitting, Estrogen Matters successfully rebuts the billion-dollar, government-led study known as the Women’s Health Initiative, which claimed that hormones for post-menopausal women are harmful. That study was wrong. It turns out estrogens do matter for women’s health.” — Vincent T. DeVita Jr., MD, Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Public Health and Yale Cancer Center

“If you’re one of the many menopausal women who avoid HRT to treat your symptoms because of all the scary headlines, this book is a must-read.” Jennifer Ouellette, author of Me, Myself and Why

More praise ︎

About the Authors

Avrum Bluming received his MD from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. He spent four years as a senior investigator for the National Cancer Institute and for two of those years was director of the Lymphoma Treatment Center in Kampala, Uganda. He organized the first study of lumpectomy for the treatment of breast cancer in Southern California in 1978, and for more than two decades he has been studying the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy administered to women with a history of breast cancer. Dr. Bluming has served as a clinical professor of medicine at USC and has been an invited speaker at the Royal College of Physicians in London and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He was elected to mastership in the American College of Physicians, an honor accorded to only five hundred of the over one hundred thousand board-certified internists in this country.


Carol Tavris received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan. Her books include Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), with Elliot Aronson; Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion, and The Mismeasure of Woman. She has written articles, op-eds, and book reviews on topics in psychological science for a wide array of publications — including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the TLS — and a column, “The Gadfly,” for Skeptic magazine. She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and has received numerous awards for her efforts to promote gender equality, science, and skepticism.

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio

UK edition, Oestrogen Matters
German edition, Öestrogen!




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Table of Contents

Introduction: Who Killed HRT?

1.         Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer?            

2.         The “Change of Life” and the Quality of Life                 

3.         Matters of the Heart               

4.         Breaking Bad

5.         Losing and Using Our Minds     

6.         Can Breast Cancer Survivors Take Estrogen?           

7.         Progesterone and the Pill               

8.         Debates, Decisions, and Final Lessons in the Case for HRT



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“This is such an important book, I want to do all I can to encourage every woman to read it. Groundbreaking and carefully researched, Estrogen Matters provides essential information about the many benefits of estrogen at menopause and even after a diagnosis of breast cancer. It reveals the misinterpretation of study results that led women (and their doctors) to have unwarranted concerns about estrogen use. The thoughtful information presented here will help women feel more comfortable taking estrogen, leading to healthier, longer lives for many.”Patricia T. Kelly, PhD, specialist in cancer risk assessment and author of Assessing Your True Risk of Breast Cancer

“Having spent over two decades advancing women's health, I was appalled by the Women’s Health Initiative’s efforts to sensationalize and distort their own findings to promote an anti-hormone-therapy agenda. I hope Estrogen Matters draws enough attention to counter the fears and misinformation about HRT that so many women, and their physicians, still hold." Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, former President and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research

“This book is long overdue, and I salute the authors for their courage and effort (and their clear, witty writing). I believe it is an ethical imperative for all clinicians who treat women in menopause or women with breast cancer to alert their patients to this book. It will not only improve women’s quality of life, but also, on balance of probabilities, extend women’s lives by delaying death from all other causes.” Michael Baum, MD, Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting professor of Medical Humanities, University College London

“How could one flawed scientific conclusion become a persuasive juggernaut that changed the practice of women’s health worldwide? In their fascinating account, Bluming and Tavris challenge that conclusion and unpack the reasons for its remarkable impact.” Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, author of Influence and Pre-Suasion

From a review on the "To HRT or not to HRT? At long last, someone has collected the body of studies that explore estrogen and its role in areas such as heart disease, breast cancer, brain function, and bone health. Avrum Bluming, MD and Carol Tavris, PHD share their research, knowledge, and stories from patients in this groundbreaking book: Estrogen Matters. This book doesn’t tell you whether or not you personally should take HRT, but it lays out all the information you might want in order to make an informed decision.” 

For the full review, see:

"This book should be mandatory reading for women of any age and for men who care about any woman. I am a retired physician who specialized in breast disease for more than 40 years and never read a more organized and conclusive evaluation of estrogen and hormone replacement therapy.” — Robert J Rosser, MD

“Well written, insightful, and hard hitting, Estrogen Matters successfully rebuts the billion-dollar, government-led study known as the Women’s Health Initiative, which claimed that hormones for post-menopausal women are harmful. That study was wrong. It turns out estrogens do matter for women’s health.” — Vincent T. DeVita Jr., MD, Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Public Health and Yale Cancer Center

“If you’re one of the many menopausal women who reflexively avoid hormone replacement therapy to treat your symptoms because of all the scary headlines, this book is a must-read. The authors deftly cut through the hype to build a strong, well-reasoned case for challenging the current accepted wisdom.” Jennifer Ouellette, author of Me, Myself and Why

“Given breast cancer’s substantial morbidity, mortality, emotional toll and the vast consequences of its treatment, this frontal salvo on the conventional wisdom of estrogen use is refreshing and welcome. The book will stir a lively debate about the merits of decades of existing clinical research on estrogens and help reframe the way clinicians and patients view the tradeoff between the benefits and risks of hormone therapy.” Jerome P. Kassirer, MD, Distinguished Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; former Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of Medicine

This book is an exhaustively researched and meticulously reasoned vindication of HRT. Very enlightening! Bluming and Tavris tell estrogen’s story in a way that is both accessible to the general public and appropriate for professionals. What’s more, they provide valuable insights into understanding research and how even the best randomized controlled studies can lead to unjustified public fears and injudicious clinical recommendations.” Harriet Hall, MD, editor, Science-Based Medicine

"In a thorough, careful and unbiased assessment of all the scientific evidence, Bluming and Tavris show that estrogens are not only not dangerous but beneficial for the vast majority of women suffering from post-menopausal symptoms, whether or not they have had breast cancer.  This extremely valuable message deserves to be widely disseminated." Lord Leslie Turnberg, former President of the Royal College of Physicians

“I was one one those women who regarded HRT as the devil's work, so I approached this book with skepticism. But I found it a real eye-opener. The authors turn a convincing light on weaknesses with the studies and reasoning that led to the wholesale rejection of HRT and on the many benefits to taking it. In addition to being a necessary corrective to the wide pendulum swing against HRT, it's an essential reminder that extreme pendulum swings (which seem to the only ones we get) are always misleading: for this as for all important questions, we need reasoned, nuanced consideration, not of ‘both sides’ but of ‘all sides.’ This book is so important for that insight, as well as for the invaluable information it imparts about HRT.” — Deborah F. Tannen, author of You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, and You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendships


HRT: The Evidence

·     There is no current way to prevent or reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia—except estrogen.

·     HRT is the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and loss of sexual desire—symptoms that can last an average of seven years. Yet many women do not realize that heart palpitations, joint and muscle aches, headaches, bladder problems, and depression are also often symptoms of menopause, which HRT can alleviate.

·     There is no evidence to support the current medical advice to take HRT at the lowest dose for the shortest period of time.

·     Seven times as many women die of heart disease as die of breast cancer annually. In fact, heart disease, not cancer, is the leading cause of death among breast cancer survivors, and HRT can decrease that risk by 30 to 50 percent.

·     Women taking HRT live, on average, several years longer than those not taking it.

·     As many women die annually following osteoporotic hip fracture as die of breast cancer, and HRT can cut this risk in half.

·     Most studies have found that estrogen does not increase the risk of breast cancer, and it can often be given safely even to women who have had breast cancer.

·     Taking hormones in menopause does not cause weight gain, a common bodily change in midlife. On the contrary, women on HRT tend to lose weight.


Another little-known benefit of estrogen:
Estrogen helps preserve vision

Over the past several years, evidence has been demonstrating that postmenopausal estrogen appears to delay or prevent dry eye, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. One article from the Journal of Endocrinology in 2014 summarized the findings:

December 14, 2020:
The National Academies of Science has confirmed once again the unreliability of compounded bioidentical hormones in menopause:

"After 21 months of data collection and analysis, the NASEM committee’s overarching conclusion was, “Given the paucity of data on the safety and effectiveness of cBHT…there is insufficient evidence to support the overall clinical utility of cBHT as treatment for menopause.”

Cynthia A. Stuenkel, JoAnn E. Manson, “Compounded Bioidentical Hormone Therapy: The National Academies Weigh In.” JAMA Internal Medicine, published on line December 14, 2020.

November, 2020:
A retrospective, international cohort study of 1,252 breast cancer patients with BRCA mutations reported no increased risk of breast cancer recurrence associated with pregnancy following treatment, even among patients with  ER+ tumors. See:

November 1, 2020:
The British Medical Journal just published a study reporting  an increased risk of breast cancer with both estrogen alone and with the combination of estrogen/progesterone.

The study reported a small difference that, even if valid,  would not have been mentioned had the end point been pancreatic cancer (not breast cancer), and omitted all the medical benefits of taking HRT. Dr. Bluming’s letter critiquing the study was published online, and can be found here:

July 1, 2020:
Compounded bioidentical hormone therapy not supported by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

“There is insufficient evidence to support the overall clinical utility of compounded bioidentical hormone therapy as treatment for menopause.”

For the full report, see:
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2020. The Clinical Utility of Compounded Bioidentical Hormone Therapy: A Review of Safety, Effectiveness, and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

May 25, 2020:
Estrogen protective against serious Covid – 19 infection.

March 21, 2020:
From "Why is the coronavirus so much more deadly for men than for women?,” by Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2010:

Study suggests protective effect is due to estrogen.

February 25, 2020:
Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) updated report misinterpreted its own data.

December 13, 2019:
Rowan Chlebowski, a principal lead investigator for The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reported at the San Antonio Breast Conference  that an update of the WHI data, now with 19+ years of follow-up,  finds that estrogen decreases the risk of breast cancer by 23%

He does continue to claim that the combination of estrogen/progestin increases the risk of breast cancer, but the numbers used to generate that conclusion have been persuasively challenged:

Incredibly, the Associated Press coverage of the San Antonio Breast Conference headlined the previously reported increased risk of breast cancer associated with combination estrogen/progestin, mentioning the decreased risk associated with estrogen administration alone in small print in the body of the press release:

December 12, 2019:
Millions of women are missing out on hormone replacement therapy: This much maligned treatment could save many lives.
By Natasha Loder, The Economist:

September, 2019:

Much Ado About Little: More False Alarms from Lancet

In September, 2019, the British journal Lancet published a paper claiming, once again, that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)—also called Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT)—increases the risk of breast cancer. Naturally, this article generated more headlines designed to frighten women away from hormones rather than guide them to an informed decision. And once again, a close reading of the study reveals that the data do not support the alarm.

For a  summary of our objections, see:

June, 2019:
Remember this:  Prevagen does not prevent memory decline:

"Jellyfish Memory Supplement Prevagen Called 'Clear-Cut Fraud.’”  

See Dr. Anthony Pearson’s article in MedPage Today:

April, 2019:
Update: Brain Medications to Prevent Alzheimer’s: Does anything work?

Even the most recently tested sophisticated approaches have been unsuccessful:

Estrogen, which has been repeatedly shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, is often omitted from suggested options.

For anyone interested in delving into the physiological mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects conferred on brain cells by estrogen, we recommend the following articles, which are not referenced in our book:

Molecular mechanisms that enable estrogen to protect brain cells.

Estrogen and progesterone reduce oxidative stress on brain cells.

Estrogen assists brain cell survival.

Estrogen protects the brain through mitochondrial regulation.

See also   

The beneficial effects of estrogen on the brain are largely limited to women.

The beneficial effects of estrogen on the brain may be dose related.


Estrogen is beneficial for cognitive function.

January 31, 2019:
The Los Angeles Times ran a featured opinion essay based on Estrogen Matters.

December 18, 2018:
Neither estrogen alone nor the combination of estrogen/progestin raises the risk of breast cancer in a widely quoted study.

In yet another blow against the conclusions of the WHI, Howard Hodis at USC and Phillip Sarrel at Yale point out that in all the WHI papers studying breast cancer, the risk of breast cancer among women randomized to estrogen alone (consistently reported as showing no increased risk) was the same as the risk of breast cancer among women randomized to the combination of estrogen and progestin (HRT) (reported as showing an increased risk). The different conclusion was due to the low risk noted in the HRT control group (randomized to placebo). This lowered risk appears to have resulted from including within the placebo group women who had taken estrogen prior to joining the study and who were randomly assigned to that placebo arm. When the risk was recalculated after these women were excluded, the increased risk observed among those randomly assigned to combination hormone replacement therapy had disappeared.    

We urge interested readers and physicians to read this important paper.

September, 2018:
Estrogen administration reported  to inhibit up to 30% of triple negative breast cancers.

September 4, 2018:
Hormone therapy: why everything you thought you knew about HRT is wrong. 
Anna Maxted, The London Times

October, 2018:
Update on Bioidentical Hormones

Many women are interested in bioidentical hormones, an issue that causes great confusion. Regulated bioidentical hormones are FDA approved and marketed by commercial pharmaceutical companies. But bioidenticals made by compounding pharmacies are completely unregulated by the FDA, and can contain useless or even harmful ingredients.

We urge women who are confused about bioidenticals to read further.

We recommend this superb review by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin:

For readers who want the evidence as presented by medical professionals, we recommend these articles.

April, 2018:
Pregnancy after Breast Cancer: Is It Safe For Survivors?

YES: Pregnancy, which elevates levels of estrogen tenfold, does not fuel its recurrence.

HRT Recent Reports

Readers interested in updated research pertaining to topics in the book, including:

· the failure of calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent hip fracture

· the benefits of HRT on the heart and in preventing dementia

· the safety of HRT for women who have the BRCA1 genetic mutation and had their ovaries removed to prevent ovarian cancer 

· the risks of Neurotin for menopausal symptoms

can find the evidence here:

August, 2014:
Estrogen can decrease the risk and the severity of Parkinson’s Disease.

& Lectures

November 1, 2020:
To commemorate International Menopause Day this past October 18th, Dr. Avrum Bluming was interviewed by Katie Taylor, CEO of the Latte Lounge in London. Here are excerpts from that recorded  interview:

September 21, 2020:
Dr. Tavris was the keynote speaker at the Women’s Brain Health Virtual Conference Series, University of British Columbia: “Rethinking Estrogen, Yet Again: The science and politics of hormone therapy in menopause.”

Link to conference:

The general public is invited to register for any talk or the whole conference, with discounts for students.

Link to keynote address and registration information:

January 13, 2020:
Dr. Bluming discussed Estrogen Matters at the Colony Club in Manhattan.

December 12, 2019:
Dr. Bluming appeared on a panel at The National Press Club in Washington DC, discussing Aging Smart, Aging Well: How women make decisions about their health in the 21st Century. Sponsored by WebMD and Healthy Women.

November 8, 2019:
Dr. Tavris spoke on Estrogen Matters at a symposium on menopause and “vibrant aging” in Newport Beach, CA, organized by Dr. Stephanie McClennan.

August 16, 2019:
Podcast with Amanda Thebe, “Over 40 Fitness”

You can find the podcast and Amanda’s accompanying blog at:

June 8, 2019:
Dr. Tavris gave a keynote address on Estrogen Matters to the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, Colorado Springs, Co.

May 20, 2019:
Podcast with Jim Underdown, Executive Director, Center for Inquiry West

The Center for Inquiry focuses on promoting science and skepticism—examining the evidence for ideas that are outdated, harmful, or wrong.

You can find the podcast at:

May 6, 2019:
Interview with Dr. Chris Duff of FundRx

FundRx Venture Partner Perspectives was created to share the knowledge and opinions of a diverse array of healthcare clinical and industry experts. In this extended conversation, Avrum and Carol discuss Estrogen Matters and updates since the book’s publication.

April 23, 2019:
Podcast with Danny Lennon

Danny Lennon is founder of Sigma Nutrition Radio, which conducts weekly interviews with researchers on topics that apply to evidence-based practice in health and nutrition.

April 12, 2019:
Podcast with Jill Angelo and Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su

A 40-minute podcast with Jill Angelo, CEO of genneve, a website devoted to providing women in menopause with the best information available (, and Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, an ob-gyn and epidemiologist.

You can find the podcast and genneve’s accompanying blog at:

February 26, 2019:
Podcast with Dr. Peter Attia

Dr. Peter Attia, a Stanford/Johns Hopkins/NIH-trained physician, hosts long-form (“ultra-deep-dive") conversations with researchers on new and important directions in medicine. The Peter Attia Drive Podcast is a weekly podcast focusing on health, longevity, well-being, and critical thinking in science. Avrum and Carol spoke at length.

You can download podcast #42 here:

January 10, 2019:
Dr. Barb (MiddlesexMD) Podcast

Avrum and Carol did a featured podcast on Dr. Barb (DePree’s) MiddlesexMD website, “the fullness of midlife.”  Dr. Barb, an ob-gyn, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Estrogen Matters and begins the conversation saying, "This book is exactly what I needed to read, and I am so thrilled someone took on this project.”

You can read a transcript or listen to the conversation here:

November 3, 2018:
Dr. Bluming spoke at the 9th Annual Symposium of The Miami Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Human Sexuality in Miami, Florida.

October 31, 2018:
Dr. Bluming was a featured speaker at an international women’s health conference, held at The Royal Society in London, which examined how women are often denied the information they need to make a shared decision with their doctors regarding their own health needs.

October 31, 2018:
Dr. Bluming was interviewed by Jenni Murray on The Woman’s Hour program of the BBC:

You can listen to the conversation here:

This is the email Dr. Bluming sent to Jenni Murray on October 31, 2018, shortly after she interviewed him on the BBC Woman’s Hour: