Menopause: Myths vs. Facts

Menopause Myths & Facts: What Every Woman Should Know about Hormone Replacement Therapy is a brand-new easy-to-read book by Lorraine Rothman (co-founder of the Los Angeles Feminist Women's Health Center) with Marcia Wexler PhD.

More than 20 years ago, Lorraine began researching human hormones to understand what happens when women take The Pill for birth control or Hormone Replacement Therapy in menopause.

This new book identifies 26 myths about menopause and sets the record straight, giving accurate and complete information. See below for myth #26.

Lorraine Rothman points out that much of menopause research today is based on women experiencing problems, ignoring the vast majority of women who have gone through menopause uneventfully. Women without problems have not been studied to find out why.

As the baby boom generation ages, pharmaceutical companies see peri-menopausal women as a huge untapped market – consumers for a steady supply of replacement hormones. Thus, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is being promoted to prevent heart disease and osteoporosis even though these claims have not been proven.

Hormone Replacement Therapy is a misnomer: they are not hormones (they are usually drugs made synthetically in the laboratory), they are not replacing anything (our bodies continue to make enough hormones during and after menopause), and they are not therapeutic (menopause is not a disease).

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published with permission from author Lorraine Rothman

Myth 26   To date, there is no evidence that food additives and pesticides do any harm, and their benefits to our food supply outweigh the risks.
FactExposure to chemicals aggravates an already over-burdened body. Some of these chemicals are also estrogen-imitators.

Up until 1945, all Americans ate organic fruits, vegetables, and meats. The discovery of DDT opened the door to a host of new chemicals and new diseases that continue to surface.

Synthetic compounds found in pesticides and industrial chemicals are wreaking havoc with our endocrine system, a network of hormone-producing glands. The problems range from thyroid dysfunction, diabetic-like conditions, decreased immunity, decreased fertility, increased miscarriages, gross birth deformities, to problems with adrenal glands, such as feminization of men and masculinization of women.

Many cells in our body need estrogen (such as the lining of our digestive tract, skin, eyes and brain) and these cells have special receptor sites for estrogen molecules. What was recently discovered in a lab was that some chemicals are perceived by a cell as estrogen and permitted to enter that site, both closing off that site to real estrogen and permitting this chemical to affect the cell.

Scientists believe that these hormone-disrupting chemicals may have combined effects and that trace quantities of individual chemicals can have major cumulative effects.

Estrogen-mimicking chemicals have been found in laundry detergents, pesticides, personal care products, and some of the clear plastic bottles, such as in baby bottles and those commonly filled with spring water or cooking oil. These estrogen-mimicking chemicals were found quite by accident.

Researchers studying breast cancer in the laboratory found their cell cultures reacting in an unusual way. After repeating their experiments several times and getting these unexpected results, they started examining the laboratory glassware. They found that the supplier had not informed them that they had added a plastic coating to the glassware and did not list this coated glassware separately in their catalog. The chemical in the plastic is called bisphenol-A, which has been implicated in causing cancer.

At Spain's University of Granada, scientists investigated the plastic coatings that line metal cans. These plastic coatings are found in 85% of US food cans. The Spanish scientists analyzed twenty brands of canned foods. They found bisphenol-A in both the plastic coating on the lining of the can and in the food, especially in canned corn, artichokes, and peas. About half the canned foods contained the chemical. Some cans contained as much as 27 times the amount that scientists said was enough to make breast cancer cells proliferate.

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 More Myths and Facts: 
Myth 14
Myth 22

Above is an excerpt from the book, Menopause Myths & Facts: What Every Woman Should Know about Hormone Replacement Therapy, by Lorraine Rothman MS MS, (co-founder of the Los Angeles Feminist Women's Health Center) with Marcia Wexler PhD.

Re-printed here with permission from Lorraine Rothman.

Go to Health Care Without Harm to read about efforts to eliminate harmful plastics from the health care industry.

Go to My House is Your House to read about the second most used plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and how you can join the movement to phase out the use of this serious environmental and health hazard.

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