BHRT: Doctors and the use of bio-identical hormone therapy

Wild yam

From the website of Jerry Tennant, MD, MD (H), PScD.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Menopausal symptoms are annoying and sometimes debilitating to many women.  For many years, standard therapy was Premarin, a form of oestrogen from horse urine. Rarely was progesterone included.  Eventually, it was recognised that the most important issue with hormones is balance.  Oestrogen must be balanced with progesterone.  Without progesterone in adequate amounts, one has what is called “oestrogen dominance”.  It is oestrogen dominance that causes many of the side effects of hormone inadequacy.

 

Because one cannot patent natural substances, pharmaceutical companies modify natural products so they will have a similar effect but they can patent the modified compound and thus make a profit from it.  Such a substance is progestin, a synthetic progesterone.

 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) in 1991 to address the most common causes of death, disability and impaired quality of life in postmenopausal women. The WHI addressed cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. The WHI was a 15 year multi-million dollar endeavour, and one of the largest U.S. prevention studies of its kind. The three major components of the WHI were:

* a randomised controlled clinical trial of promising but unproven approaches to prevention;

* an observational study to identify predictors of disease;

* a study of community approaches to developing healthful behaviours.

 

 

The study was discontinued after seven years because it was clear that the synthetic hormones were increasing risks—see below.  This has made many women fear the use of hormones of any type.

 

It appears that the use of bio-identical (same of the human makes) hormones instead of synthetic hormones have the reverse effect.  These hormones must be compounded by a compounding pharmacy since regular drug companies have no interest in these natural compounds as they can’t patent and pay the cost of getting the FDA to approve them.  If one company paid the FDA the millions of dollars it would take to get them approved, all of their competitors could make/sell them with no opportunity for the first company to recover the millions of dollars paid to the FDA to approve them.  Thus there is a constant effort to discredit bio-identical hormones in the U.S.  Since the FDA can’t control the use of natural substances, they have recently received authority to enforce severe requirements upon compounding pharmacies.  This increases the cost of bio-identical hormones above the price affordable by most consumers.  Thus there is a problem:  synthetic hormones are harmful and bio-identical hormones are helpful but difficult to afford.  However, women who can find them at an affordable price usually feel amazingly better without the risks of synthetic hormones.

(pictured; wild yam)

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