Estrogen: Should Women Take Estrogen?

Should Women take Estrogen?


I wrote this post last January due to an article in the New York Times:

Menopause, as Brought to You by Big Pharma | December, 2009


Here is my response to the New York Times article:

After reading this article, you may be feeling some anxiety and a great deal of concern, particularly if you or your friends or family members are currently being treated with Premarin, Provera, or combinations of these drugs such as Prempro. You are correct to be concerned since the recently released Womens Health Initiative and other studies have demonstrated that Premarin, a concentrated mixture of chemicals found in horse urine-many of which are not normally found in a woman’s body, and Provera-a synthetic, chemically modified derivative of progesterone are associated with premature heart attacks, blood clots in the lungs and limbs, and breast cancer. Furthermore, it appears that Premarin, while somewhat effective in relieving some menopausal symptoms, does not significantly reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and dementia in most women who take it. If you or someone you know is taking one or both of these drugs, you are probably wondering if you have an alternative that is safer but still effective.

There is a more effective alternative to taking Premarin or Provera, namely natural bioidentical hormone balancing by physicians trained in this type of medicine. These doctors use the natural estradiol, estriol, and progesterone found normally in a healthy woman’s body. This method is particularly effective when combined with a nutritional program and natural supplements to optimize the woman’s overall health.

There has been much confusion in the media concerning the Womens Health Initiative and bioidentical hormones. Here are some important points you should be aware of:

1.The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study did NOT test the natural estradiol, estriol, or progesterone which is normally found in a woman’s body. Premarin and Provera are not the same hormones normally found in a woman’s body; Premarin is found in horse urine and is a mix of more than 10 different chemicals. Provera is not found anywhere in nature. It is man-made. Therefore, the results of the WHI study cannot be compared to the use of natural bioidentical estrogens and progesterone.

2.The women in the WHI took the drugs orally in a pill, whereas physicians properly trained in bioidentical hormone balancing almost never prescribe oral estrogens. Physicians who are competent in bioidentical hormone balancing use individually dosed hormone gels or creams that pass through the skin or insert small quantities of hormone under the skin as a hormone implant (think Norplant for birth control) to simulate the normal way hormones enter and circulate in the body. Taking estrogens by mouth, as was done in the WHI study, increases the risk of dangerous side effects such as blood clots because of the way the hormones are processed by the liver.  Studies have now shown that taking estrogens by skin creams does NOT raise the risk of blood clots.
3.The levels of the Premarin and Provera in the bloodstream were not measured in the WHI study. Physicians who correctly use bioidentical hormones carefully measure the levels of these hormones in the body and their metabolites in the urine to ensure that they are present in the human body at the same level the body was “designed” to expect. This avoids side effects and optimizes the hormone effectiveness.
4.Large studies involving thousands of women as well as the clinical experience of physicians using the natural estrogens and progesterone for decades indicate that these natural hormones do not appear to cause the bad side effects seen with Premarin and Provera. In fact, natural progesterone has been shown to protect against breast cancer, uterine fibroids, uterine cancer, fibrocystic breasts, PMS, migraines and other conditions and is important in growing new bone to prevent osteoporosis. Natural estrogens do reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and dementia and help prevent osteoporosis.
I and the other 50+ BodyLogicMD physicians do not use Premarin or Provera. We use natural, bioidentical estrogens and progesterone as well as many other natural hormones to properly balance a woman’s or a man’s “hormonal symphony.” We combine this with an advanced functional nutritional program, detoxification, diet, and exercise to optimize the function of a woman or man’s body in a natural, gentle and holistic way. By doing so, we achieve excellent control of menopausal or andropausal symptoms and optimize the patient’s overall health. There is no need for any woman to take Premarin or Provera. See a highly trained bioidentical hormone expert at BodyLogicMD and discuss your natural options for hormone balance.

Dr. Joseph E. Kaye

President and Owner

BodylogicMD of Boston


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