I am a very opinionated lady, and I will be sharing my feelings on some passionate belief systems. Firstly, I am grateful that this lovely lady with her great celebrity status has brought to the forefront a woman’s right to feel vibrant and sexy. I also respect the doctors that she worked with in order to balance her hormones and keep her feeling vibrant and sexy. Most of her interviews were with physicians who test hormones in the blood, and replace them in various ways: through the skin, through the digestive system, in the buccal cavity using troches, or as pellets delivered under the skin, as we spoke in my previous article.
Measuring the hormones in the serum (the straw colored liquid once the red blood cells are spun down in a centrifuge) is like looking outside for the car keys you dropped on your kitchen floor. It serves me not: hormones measured in the blood this way tells me what is protein bound, inactive, not what is actually happening in our cell tissue. And that is why I use saliva testing to see where our hormones are, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol- 4x in one day, to see the state of our adrenal health (our immune state).
So I do deviate from most of the authorities in her books; moreover, I am especially vociferous about her working with a woman, neither a physician, nor a scientist, called T.S. Wiley, who speaks of the “Wiley Protocol,” which uses such high doses of estrogen, cyclically, generally in transdermal form, then withdraws them for a time each month, so that women get their bleeding back, even if they are 60- 70 years old and beyond!!! This to bring us back to our youthful exuberance. I think this is very unwise, and truly unnecessary.
More and more doctors are becoming certified as ‘anti-aging specialists.’ Dear God, I do not want to go back to my brain-dead anxious years when I did not know my magnificence , and spent many wasted years looking outside myself for someone to love me, when it was ME who needed to love me. Now, with my not so sexy breasts that are tending to go south, as are my lovely eyelids, and my numerous spider veins and cellulite on my legs, I nonetheless can look in the mirror—buck naked, as I tell my fellow goddesses—and say, “Helene, I love you EXACTLY as you are.” And I mean it. I do not want to be an anti-anything: I want to celebrate my wise-woman years, and strive to be the best I can be in the present package I am. That takes a lot of heat off me. And most importantly, I have peace and joy knowing I am enough.
Over the past 50 years, the profession of medicine has changed back and forth each decade or so, extolling the benefits of estrogen replacement, then vilifying it as new data, new studies came to the forefront. How could women know who to listen to, when we as physicians are so conflicted on which study to honor? Or whether synthetic hormones are more risky than bio-identical or ‘natural’ hormones?
Bioidentical translates into hormones that, once getting into the circulation, act as if they are made by the body. Premarin, for example, is PRE-gnant MAR-es urINe, coming from a beautiful pregnant horse, and certainly bioidentical for horses, but not for humans.
Hormones that are made in the laboratory from wild yam or soy as the base ingredient are then synthesized into natural progesterone, testosterone, or the three forms of estrogen: estradiol, estriol, estrone , as well as DHEA, pregnenolone, are then taken by a compounding pharmacy and made into a cream, for transdermal use(rubbed into the skin) or inserted vaginally; capsules ingested; buccal variety (placed into the mouth to be absorbed through the mucous membrane); injections; or into pellets that are injected under the skin and absorbed slowly over a specified time.
More confusing yet is that the pharmaceutical industry, besides producing synthetic hormones (such as Premarin, Prempro, all birth control pills) produce as well some bioidentical hormone. For example, Prometrium is a capsule made with natural progesterone that can be patented, because it has a unique delivery system (in peanut oil). Many of the estradiol patches, such as Climara, Vivelle, Menostar —though bioidentical—can be patented because the vehicle that delivers the hormone is unique and does not appear in nature. In other words, if it appears in nature, such as a bird, or butterfly it is not patentable and saleable by the pharmaceutical industry.
And as a physician, with direct connection to the Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry, the AMA, and the FDA, if I am to remain safe from censure and disapproval from my profession, I would continue to use patented medicine only and not bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, such as I have been doing for over 20 long years.
However, I have always practiced outside the box, because for some quirky reason, I want to explain why my beautiful goddesses are given something, how it behaves in their body and what they can do in their life to maximize the positive effect. Next time we will muse about the effect that Suzanne Sommers has had on this subject.