Is Estrogen Safe ?
What a loaded question! If you ask a "traditional" gynecologist or doctor, they would tell you to run for the hills to avoid estrogen. They think estrogen is "the Devil". This impression is mostly based on the Women's Health Initiative Study. This study was conducted on combined equine(that means horse derived) estrins and progestins. Well, my response to that protocol is also, yes, run for the hills. Whoever thought of giving women hormones from pregnant horses?
These hormones cause all sorts of health problems from increased breast cancer risk to heart disease and stroke. They are combined hormones given orally ,and identical doses every day. Nothing could be more of an aberration of normal human physiology.
Unfortunately, it is the biggest, most comprehensive study of female hormone replacement that we have today.So, many physicians are basing their opinion on the results of this study. They go beyond that by assuming that " all hormones are the same". I hear this every day.
Well, I disagree. First of all, plant derived "bioidentical hormones" are not the same as hormones from pregnant horses. Secondly, hormones absorbed through the skin( and therefore not going directly through the liver) are not the same as hormone pills.
Plant derived hormones are chemically identical to human hormones and physiologically work the same. In other words, our cells don't distinguish them as different from hormones made in our body.
So now the big question. Where's the evidence? This is the "thorn in the side" of bioidentical hormone replacement. We don't have a 20 year double blind controlled study of bioidentical hormones, unfortunately. Eventually, I think we will. But for now, we are limited. We have some smaller studies. There is an ongoping French study of about 6,000 women who started hormones right at the time of early menopause, and after 6 or 7 years have not shown any increase in breast cancer. There is another Finnish study of 70,000 women that basically shows the same thing with a significant reduction in heart disease events and osteoporosis.
Another issue rarely discussed is "What is the goal of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women"? Many doctors are only concerned with symptoms( typical of traditional medicine today). In my mind, the ultimate goal of post menopausal hormone replacement is the PREVENTION OF AGE RELATED DISEASES. When women lose their hormones, that is when their incidence of heart disease, osteoporosis, breast cancer, auto immune disease, and alzheimers disease, to name a few, rises dramatically. Balanced, cyclical, bio identical hormone replacement can have a significant impact on preventing these illnesses from beginning and progressing.
The "symptoms" of menopause are what I refer to as the"tip of the iceberg". Those are easy to get rid of. What I am interested in is keeping women healthier as they age.And that is the main reason that I propose bioidentical hormone replacement in a balanced rhythmic fashion for women.
Do we have all the answers? No ! But I think we have enough information to realize that all "hormones" are NOT the same. And, that proper hormone replacement with bioidentical rhythmic dosing, will make women healthier and give them a significantly better quality of life after menopause.