Menopause: Myths vs. Facts

Myth 14   Most of the estrogen replacement hormones are natural hormones; those that are synthetic act as natural hormones.
FactEstrogen replacement hormones are not natural to women's bodies. So-called natural hormones are not part of the body's process of making hormones and have not had long-term large-scale studies to determine safety.

All hormone drugs are synthetic chemicals that are manufactured in laboratories; even the ones derived from plants have been chemically altered in laboratories. The closest to "natural," the most popularly prescribed and longest on the market - Premarin - is reconstituted from PREgnant Mares' UrINe (PRE+MAR+IN). Once the mare's urine is altered in the lab, Premarin is not even natural to a horse.

Drug companies deliberately make their synthetic hormones NOT identical to human hormones so that they can patent these products and make them financially profitable.

Our endocrine glands respond to very subtle stimuli and the amount of hormone secreted by any gland can vary widely throughout the day. Finding a dosage of synthetic hormones that feels comfortable in you body is still a crude way of trying to mimic what our bodies will do if left alone.

Further, the amount of estrogen secreted by our ovaries during a normal menstrual cycle is measured in millionths and billionths of a gram - a phantom, a wisp of mist suffusing our body. Yet this minute amount has profound effects in our bodies.

Under the category of "natural" are isolated substances derived from plants, such as soy and Mexican wild yams, none of which contain any human hormones. When these molecules are altered in the laboratory to match the structure of human hormones, they are marketed as "bio-identical" or "natural" hormones. Even though these engineered molecules are identical to our own progesterone and estrogen, they can never match what our body's timing, quantity, or natural processes require.

Unless these new molecules can be patented it is extremely unlikely that long-term studies of large numbers of women will be done to determine the effects and safety of "natural" hormones.

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.

GET THE WHOLE BOOK - Buy it online right here.

Myth 26
Myth 22

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