Women who take HRT or the Pill could have more protection against brain aneurysms, a new study says.
Pills containing oestrogen could decrease the chances of the potentially fatal condition, which occurs when a blood vessel becomes weak, causing a bulge when blood passes through it.
If the aneurysm grows too big, there is a danger it can rupture, causing internal haemorrhaging and organ damage. From 1-6% of people in England could have a brain aneurysm, and ruptures cause 1,400 deaths every single year. The death rate for people who suffer aneurysms is between 65% and 85%.
In the study, 60 women with intact aneurysms were asked about their use of HRT or the Pill, compared with figures for 4,600 women from the general population. The women with aneurysms were found to be less likely to have taken either, and had an earlier average age of menopause.
Experts from Illinois and Virginia in the US said the options for caring for those with aneurysms are limited, focusing on stents, clips or balloons to stop the conditions worsening. Writing in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery, they said: “Such an approach leads to prognostic uncertainty and a future filled with anxiety provoking surveillance imaging for the patient.
“The results of this study may not only provide additional insight into cerebral aneurysm pathophysiology but, more importantly, may lead to more pathology-based therapies to patients either harbouring an unruptured cerebral aneurysm or at risk of developing one.”