Are Bioidentical Hormones Safe?

There has been an ongoing debate about hormone replacement safety for the past 20 years. If you talk to ten doctors, you will probably get ten different opinions regarding the safety of hormone replacement for women. Surprisingly, there still remains confusion surrounding testosterone replacement for men, even though the data is overwhelmingly in favor of it.

It stands to reason that if hormones are health enhancing for men, the same should be true for women. However, until recently this was merely an assumption, with no hard evidence to support what seemed to be an obvious conclusion.

The “C” Word

When we talk about hormone safety, what is usually inferred is “cancer risk”. The C word is very scary as it implies a death sentence, even though so much has changed in regards to dealing with this disease. And, the risk of cancer is only one issue when discussing hormone replacement;  we know that hormone deficiency is related to many health problems. For instance it is well known and accepted that estrogen for women is heart protective and bone protective.

Health Concerns of Aging Women

These are two major health concerns facing aging women. Heart attacks alone outnumber ALL cancer related deaths in women combined. I would think this alone would be a good reason to take estrogen after menopause.  Heart attack rate in women before menopause is almost zero, and after menopause it rapidly becomes equal to that of men. How many doctors have you heard talk about women taking estrogen after menopause to help prevent heart attacks?

Subduing the Monster

Everyone is afraid of “The Big C”.  Well, thankfully, I believe we can now put that big ugly monster away! Multiple published studies were reviewed surveying over 80,000 women using bioidentical hormones. A number of important conclusions were determined:

  • Bioidentical progesterone lowers the risk of breast cancer in women taking bioidentical post menopausalestradiol.
  • The closer the woman starts the hormones to the start of menopause, the lower the breast cancer risk.
  • Starting hormones before the age of 60 lowers the risk.

The type of progesterone used seems to be at the root of breast cancer risk, not the estrogen.Cyclical natural micronized progesterone affords breast cancer protection by causing cellular turnover and death (called cellular apoptosis) resulting in any early cancer formation to be halted both in the breast and uterus. This point is extremely important as many doctors believe progesterone for women who have undergone a hysterectomy is unnecessary. However, this belief is totally wrong.  Progesterone also can protect the breast from cancer.

A study showing that women with higher levels of progesterone had a 88% lower incidence of breast cancer.  The type of progesterone used,or lack thereof, seems to be a greater factor in determining breast cancer risk than estrogen.

A retrospective analysis of published literature on hormones in Pub Med came to this conclusion:

“Physiological data and clinical outcomes demonstrate that bioidentical hormones are associated with lower risks, including the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and are more efficacious than their synthetic and animal-derived counterparts. Until evidence is found to the contrary, bioidentical hormones remain the preferred method of HRT. Further randomized controlled trials are needed to delineate these differences more clearly.”

On the Right Track!

I think we can finally rest assured that we are on the right track by replacing hormones with chemically identical hormones in the same pattern as we had them before, and that by so doing, we enhance our health, with minimal to no risk and with no unwanted side effects for both men and women.

I believe that if doctors are telling you anything to the contrary, they are living in the dark ages and have not taken the time to read the most up to date literature on the subject.

 

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