I commend Oprah for doing the research herself and finding bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and using the forum of her show, website, and magazine to publicize a very important health issue, one that affects every woman at some time in her life. The questions Oprah has asked and the answers that are provided on her show and in the resources that she has provided are answers that so many women are seeking every day. There is so much confusion regarding hormones and it is time that someone with the ability to reach so many sheds some light on this topic. So many women feel terrible but are afraid to ask for hormones because of all the negative press that hormones received after the Women’s Health Initiative. Women are afraid to use hormones that can greatly improve their quality of life and improve their health as well. Hopefully now that Oprah has “started the conversation” many others will follow suit and the truth regarding this subject will finally come out.
If I sound passionate about this subject, it is because I am. I am a
board-certified FAMILY PHYSICIAN who practiced Obstetrics for 15 years and
treated women for many years with the artificial hormones that are unfortunately
still used as the "tools of the trade" for traditional practicing physicians.
After doing a lot of my own research and taking additional training, and now successfully treating patients with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for many years, I can say that we have a safer method that not only allows relief of symptoms, but will improve long term wellness!
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pleasantly surprised when I saw Oprah’s first episode of her “Best Life” series. Oprah sounded like every one of my patients. Additionally, on the show, Robin McGraw sounded like so many of our patients do. Their symptoms are familiar to many
of my patients: the universal insomnia, hot flashes, palpitations, fatigue, foggy thinking, low sex drive, etc… They all talked about having been to one or more doctors who told them that their hormones are “within normal range.” Almost everyone thought they had a thyroid problem and many of them did. The thyroid was treated and they still didn’t get better. But then the doctors throw up their hands and say that everything is normal and that they will just have to adjust because “this is aging”. Maybe if the doctor was compassionate they might prescribe anti-depressants. But these patients know that depression is not their problem. The doctor may have offered artificial hormones which patients are afraid of. If they take them, most patients have side effects and decide to stop them. Even before all the bad press only 30% of women stayed on the artificial hormones prescribed to them (and this when we thought they were good for you). These
women all knew there had to be a better way, but they didn’t know what the way was or where to turn, until now that is. This is not the way aging has to be!!!
As mentioned briefly on the Oprah show, when doctors tell you that your hormones are in the normal range, they mean that your hormones are in the normal range for someone YOUR AGE. This is important. Doctors who practice BHRT
compare your levels to optimal ranges which is to say that we want to replace
your hormones to the levels where they would have been at 25-35 years old before
they started to drop and when you felt better than you do now. That just plain
makes sense, but studies show that doing this actually improves your quality of
life and decreases your risk of disease and prolongs a healthy lifespan. An
individual must have their hormones checked by a doctor versed in the field or
they will be lead to believe that their hormones are normal when they are not.
Additionally, hormones need to be in balance. Traditional doctors are not taught to balance hormones so the concept does not even come into play in a regular hormone evaluation. All women know the importance of balance for their bodies. With BHRT we can replace hormone levels and bring hormones into balance which is essential for health and well-being.
There has been a lot of confusion about the safety of hormones and the public views this as somewhat of a flip flop in the opinions on hormones, BUT, actually, when hormone s have been studied in the past, especially BHRT they have been shown to be safe and to prevent disease. The WHI study looked at ONLY PREMPRO (artificial hormones) and did not look at BHRT. This is like comparing apples and oranges and saying they are both the same because they are fruit. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are studies that have looked at the safety of BHRT that show that BHRT is safer. As Dr. Northrup stated BHRT molecules have the exact same chemical structure as the hormones in our bodies. She did not go on to say that this is important because hormones and their receptors must fit together as a lock and a key do. If you do not have this lock and key fit the hormones may cause unwanted effects. It is ridiculous to state that artificial hormones and BHRT
are the same and have the same risks.
There is another confusion to clear up here regarding the word synthetic. BHRT is actually synthetic because all the word synthetic means is manufactured. BHRT is made from soy or yams and changed in a chemical lab (FDA approved labs) to bioidentical Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. So instead of the distinction between synthetic and non synthetic, we prefer to use the term bioidentical and non-bioidentical.
Testing is the most vitally important part of all of this - using BHRT that has demostrated biological effects in the body without testing is no better, and can be just as dangerous as using synthetic hormones and patients need to shy away from physicians who do not regularly test levels and adjust treatment regimens! It is important to look for hormone balance and use the right target ranges, and an important fact is that hormones that are available through pharmaceutical companies only come in a few dosages. This is a one size fits all solution. Every woman knows that she is different from every other woman and because of that requires different doses of different hormones. With testing and with compounded hormones from a reputable compounding pharmacy, qualified physicians are able to determine exactly what each patient needs and have their hormones custom made for their individual specifications.
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