Hormone replacement therapy is a hot topic in the news. But if you don’t know the ins-and-outs of how it works and the differences in the different types available, it can be hard to make sense of all the conflicting reports.
That’s why I like to give you my perspective whenever it’s in the news. And I’m excited to tell you about an article I just came across that discusses a new development in this important field.
As a little background, I do a lot of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) in my practice. Some people consider it controversial, but that’s usually because they’re confusing it with synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Most of the studies done on BHRT have shown no increased risk for hormone-induced cancers — for either men or women.
While BHRT has applications for everyone, it’s women I’m going to focus on today. That’s because the “menopause market” it’s a prime target for Big Pharma. With so many women in the menopausal years and so many headed there each year, drug companies get dollar signs in their eyes when they think how they can capitalize on the compounded BHRT industry.
You can’t help but wonder why they’d even want to get into this market when they’ve spent so many years trying to convince women that compounded hormones are useless. They’ve tried to sell their estradiol hormone patches as “natural” to allay women’s fears about the well-proven risks of the product.
News flash: They’re not natural in the slightest.
In fact, these patches from Big Pharma lead to a rise in the unhealthy estrogen (estrone) — not in the healthy estradiol — even though these patches are only estradiol. Quite a conundrum … but that’s what happens when you try to use synthetic hormones on a human being.
Up until now, conventional oral hormone-replacement therapies have contained synthetic hormones. That’s what led to the large increased in female-related cancers and led millions of women to shy away from the many health benefits of hormone replacement.
After that disaster, women in the know turned to doctors like me who would prescribe compounded bio-identical hormone products.
Well now Big Pharma is trying to drum up excitement for a new oral soft-gel capsule containing standardized doses of natural estrogen (17-β estradiol) and natural progesterone. They say that research has shown that it’s safe and effective in addressing menopause symptoms.
According to the manufacturer, if this product is approved, it will be the “regulated alternative” that women who have been using compounded hormone therapy have been hoping for. In other words, the safe and effective treatments I’ve been providing for years.
But pay attention to that one key word: regulated. They want BHRT to be regulated. Which, as you know by now, is just code for “profitable.” Regulation has no meaning in a society where things are regulated only to make money for the regulators.
The manufacturer’s argument against compounded hormone therapy is that the compounds aren’t FDA-approved. Which is just plain wrong. Every ingredient in the compound is FDA approved. They are prescription and cannot be bought over-the-counter.
In an interview with Medscape Medical News, Ginger Constantine, MD, of EndoRheum Consultants, Malvern, Pennsylvania, explained what she sees as the value of this product: “What is unique about this product is it will be the only combination…that has natural estradiol and natural progesterone and in which we know the appropriate doses. It’s designed for those women who wanted the natural products and who are being forced to take something.”
Forced!? Who is forcing anyone to do anything? Women want an alternative to synthetic hormones. And they have it. And I can tell you that the ones I work with are not feeling forced into a corner. They are very happy with the treatment they’re receiving.
The last thing we need is the government regulating BHRT — which is working just fine, thank you very much. They should put their energy into something that will actually make a difference in people’s lives… like, maybe sugar?
Oh, that’s right. There’s no money to be made by regulating sugar. In fact, there’s lots of money to be made in keeping sugar cheap and readily available.
P.S. Speaking of menopause, a new study was just published showing that 100 mg of Pycnogenol daily can reduce menopausal symptoms within just 8 weeks and cardiovascular symptoms associated with menopause in just 6 months. You can listen to me being interviewed about that study by clicking here.