Most people are unaware of the major differences between the “synthetic” man-made form of hormones versus the “natural” molecular hormone that Mother Nature gave us. These innate hormones are commonly referred to as “BIO-IDENTICAL” and are exact clones of what is normally manufactured and metabolized within our body.
On May 31, 2002 the National Institute of Health released the results of an eleven year study known as the WHI (Women’s Health Initiative), which was designed to determine the actual risk reduction of heart attack, stroke, colon cancer, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Osteoporosis from the use of the synthetic hormones – more specifically Premarin and Prempro.
In the past, physicians and patients were told (and convinced) that the benefits of HRT far exceeded the risks, so millions of women throughout America were on some form of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). The trial ended prematurely because preliminary findings revealed an increased risk, rather than a decreased risk of the illnesses it was following (in a certain subset of patients tested). This information, (although I believe may have been over inflated), caused a major scare among the medical community as well as past and present recipients of these drugs (Premarin and Prempro).
Billions of dollars were lost in sales as the number one selling drug in America lost popularity. Fear filled the lives of millions of women who were abruptly stopping their hormones and suffering adverse side effects because of it. At that time both patients and physicians were frightened and discouraged, thus reluctant to prescribe or use any form of hormone therapy. Medical offices were being flooded with phone calls, enemies were being made, attorney’s eyes lit up, and neither the patients, doctors, nor Big Pharma knew what to do or say. (Although it wasn’t long before the drug companies chimed in with the “brilliant idea” to decrease the dose and time on the drug)! Perhaps this avoided millions of lawsuits as it appeared that they really cared about the patient’s health over their company’s wealth.
If you truly believe that, you are in for a big surprise as you will learn through other entries on my website.
For decades prior to the results of this monumental study becoming public, my professors and mentors preached the importance of HRT and its benefits despite the fact that it was only speculative and never really proven or disproven until now. Most medical providers would never envision the findings of the study to be so contrary to our previous beliefs!
THREE IMPORTANT LESSONS I LEARNED (Among Several Others):
- I will no longer believe everything that I learned in medical school or residency training.
- I will take what was told to me by the drug companies – through their convincing, attractive and brainwashed representatives, as being biased and factually altered.
- I will be aware of all governmental medical agencies including the FDA, AMA and NIH—all whom I believe are driven more by monetary motives and incentives than by truth, proven fact, and patient safety. (Unfortunately, even in medicine, the prime stimulus for advancement appears to be that of financial gain, regardless of cost and outcome.)
The results of the WHI study, along with its implications, prompted me to write an article (that actually received national publicity) entitled, “Synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy is Leaving a Bad Taste in Your Physicians Mouth.” The article briefly discussed the results of the study, in a less negative way than did the press, and highlighted that only certain subsets of women receiving one particular form of HRT were at increased risk of poor outcomes. Despite this, the media was much more influential than I could ever dream of being, and a vast majority of patients and physicians discontinued use of these non bio-identical hormones.
My article went on to note that there were alternatives to these “synthetic” hormones and that they are safer and more effective than the synthetics, since they are exact replicas of the hormones naturally manufactured and metabolized by the human body. This was an option that most women (and for that matter), most physicians, never knew existed!
I want to go on record here to say that I am in no way implying I had anything to do with the development, introduction or reintroduction of BHRT (Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy). The credit for this lies within the hands, minds and caring souls of several of my esteemed colleagues, such as Dr. Jonathan Wright, Dr. John Lee, Dr. Alan Gaby, and Dr. Gino Tutera to name only a few. But perhaps the most influential source of BHRT growth and recognition comes from actress/singer/author, (and I hope someday, friend and colleague), Suzanne Somers. Through her books and documented interviews with experts in the field, as well as her appearances with prominent and reputable media greats like Oprah and Dr. Phil, she has succeeded in “getting the word out” regarding safe and effective means to obtain hormone balance.
She has and continues to do more for the field of Bio-Identical Hormones than anyone or anything else to date. I recommend reading (all) her books which can be found online.
Thanks to their passion, persistence, and hard work, alternative medical doctors are now becoming more recognized and utilized for their skills in BHRT as well as with other medical conditions.
I know what must be in the back of your minds regarding the safety and benefits of BHRT. Are they really safe? Is there enough information out there to answer this question? These are both excellent points!
The answer: To date there are over 25 recent and reputable studies showing that BHRT indeed is beneficial and safe to use. It is my firm belief that within a matter of 5 years, thousands more physicians will be providing BHRT or referring their patients, families and themselves to experienced specialists of Hormone Replacement Therapy. As recently as last year, tens of thousands of medical doctors were requested by the AMA to obtain additional training in BHRT because of the current and expected growth and patient interest. Maybe this will be a step in the right direction for the improvement of healthcare in America.