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Menopause and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Review Focusing on Therapeutic Perspectives

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 6 ]


Vasiliki Venetsanaki and Stergios A. Polyzos*   Pages 546 - 555 ( 10 )


There is increasing evidence that menopause is associated with the progression and severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Estrogen deficiency worsens non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in mice models with fatty liver. The prevalence of NAFLD seems to be higher in postmenopausal compared with premenopausal women. Although more data are needed, lower serum estradiol levels are associated with NASH in postmenopausal women. Apart from estrogen deficiency, relative androgen excess and decrease in sex hormone-binding protein are observed in postmenopausal women. These hormonal changes seem to interplay with an increase in abdominal adipose mass, also observed in postmenopausal women, and aging, which are both closely related to the severity and progressive forms of NAFLD. NAFLD adds extra morbidity to postmenopausal women, possibly increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Improving parameters of the metabolic syndrome via modifications in diet and physical exercise may reduce the risk of NAFLD and its related morbidity. Limited studies have shown a beneficial effect of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on NAFLD, although adverse hepatic effects have been attributed to progesterone in one study. Phytoestrogens may be alternatives to HRT, but their long-term efficacy and safety remain to be shown. The aim of this review was to summarize evidence linking menopause with NAFLD with a special focus on potential therapeutic perspectives.


Estrogens, menopause, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, sex hormone-binding globulin, steatosis, testosterone.


Unit of Reproductive Endocrinology, First Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, First Department of Pharmacology, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki

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