Estrogen is an essential female sex hormone that begins to decline during the perimenopausal years. The loss of estrogen brings on the classic signs and symptoms associated with menopause including hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, and loss of sexual interest. If a woman fails to restore estrogen levels at menopause, studies show she will significantly increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s dementia, and colon cancer.
The recent results of the World Health Initiative (WHI) study has brought hormone therapy for women to the forefront of medicine. Unfortunately, the wrong conclusions were made and women were directed away from “hormone replacement”. Though entire books have been dedicated to this topic, I will touch upon the important points briefly. The WHI did not use any human hormones in the study. Premarin (freeze dried horse urine) and Provera (progestin – a proven toxic chemical) were used. Neither of these substances has ever been naturally found in any woman, at any age, ever!
The WHI also had the woman take the “estrogen” orally, which forces it to be processed through the liver into some toxic metabolites called estrones. The ovaries release estrogen directly into the blood stream (as does a topical cream). Lastly, the women in the WHI also were mostly in their 60’s and 70’s with already established preexisting disease. The two goals of properly taking bio-identical estrogen (estradiol/estriol) is to help quality of life (menopausal symptoms) and to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s dementia, and colon cancer. The decision to start estrogen therapy is an individual choice that should be based on family genetics, correct medical information, and a discussion on the scientific, evidence-based risks and benefits.