What comes to mind when you hear the phrase ‘hormone replacement therapy’?
The thought alone sends a shiver of fear down the spines of many women who have heard horror stories about cancer and heart disease. One day the newspapers are reporting that hormone replacement therapy is the fountain of youth and the next day they’re telling us that women should avoid hormones like the plague.
So which is it – the fountain of youth or the plague?
The answer hinges upon the difference between bioidentical hormones and counterfeit hormones such as Premarin and Prempro (Both of which can be found in most birth control pills). Bioidentical hormones are an identical molecular match to the hormones produced by your body.
On the other hand, the molecular structure of counterfeit hormones has been changed in order to make them patentable for the pharmaceutical companies. They’re foreign chemicals that come with a host of side effects. The misinformation about hormone replacement therapy began with the findings of a study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).
The double blind study included more than 161,000 healthy menopausal women who were either given the counterfeit hormone Prempro or a placebo. Please note that bioidentical hormones were not used in the WHI.
The Women’s Health Initiative was meant to give evidence to the supposed benefits of counterfeit hormones touted by the pharmaceutical companies. Much to the pharmaceutical companies’ dismay, the results were quite the opposite.
The results were so shocking that the study was cut three years short because the risks of taking counterfeit hormones far outweighed the benefits.
Among the women taking the counterfeit hormone, Prempro the following was found:
· 29 percent increase in coronary heart disease
· 41 percent increase in strokes
· 22 percent increase in cardiovascular disease
· 2,100 percent increase in pulmonary embolism (lung blood clots)
· 26 percent increase in breast cancer
Immediately doctors began taking women off of all hormones, whether bioidentical hormones or counterfeit hormones. The fact that these studies had no bearing on bioidentical hormones was lost upon the public as the media collectively referred to both bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones as ‘hormones’. As we learned from yesterday’s discussion, bioidentical hormones are the only ones that can truly be called a hormone.
You would think that the findings of the WHI would have been the death sentence to counterfeit hormones such as Premarin and Prempro, but these hormone imposters are still being prescribed to women today.
The media frequently brings up the findings of the WHI, but several years later still fails to get their facts straight and mention that the WHI looked at counterfeit hormones and not bioidentical hormones.
Next week we’ll take a closer look bioidentical progesterone and bioidentical estrogen. Refreshingly, these hormones have positive side effects!