A recent article on hormones for menopause caught my attention. I was puzzled by the fact that the author, Staness Jonekos, has no medical credentials, training or even a rudimentary knowledge of biological science. Rather, she is an actress with a theater arts degree from UCLA. She chronicled her menopause experience with a book and blog entitled “Menopause Makeover.”
To make up for her lack of medical knowledge, Staness joined up with Wendy Klein MD, an academic physician who advocates synthetic, chemically altered hormones (progestins), and SSRI antidepressants for menopausal symptoms. The latest article by the two women, “10 Hormone Therapy Facts“, is a compilation of nonsense, falsehoods, and half truths, with a hidden agenda promoting the synthetic hormone industry by maligning natural bioidentical hormones.
10 Ten Hormone Facts should be renamed 10 Ten Hormone Fallacies
Firstly, the Jonekos article maligns bioidentical hormones as unregulated, non-FDA approved and not supported by science. These claims against bioidentical hormones are false, and are a smokescreen to hide the really scary fact that synthetic hormones are monsters that cause cancer and heart disease, as shown in the Women’s Health Initiative study.
Secondly, the article tries to confuse the difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic, chemically altered hormones made by the pharmaceutical industry. Do not be confused, they are very different. Synthetic hormones are chemically altered monsters that cause cancer and heart disease. Bioidentical hormones are identical to hormones found naturally in the human body, the safe and effective choice.
Thirdly the article contradicts itself in number 7, stating that blood testing is not needed, while the author earlier reported that blood testing revealed a high estrogen level. Obviously, blood testing was needed.
Fourth, the article quotes the Menopause and Endocrine Societies as authorities without revealing their financial ties to the synthetic hormone makers such as Wyeth.
Fifth, the author says that bioidentical hormones did not work for her. Quite to the contrary, millions of women use bioidentical hormones every day for relief of menopausal symptoms and quality of life. Bioidentical hormones work quite well.
Sixth, after ranting that bioidentical hormones don’t work, the author reports they DO work, and she uses estradiol, a bioidentical hormone. Estrogen alone without progesterone causes increased risk of endometrial cancer. This important information is omitted from the article, possibly harming women readers who accept Staness as a medical authority, incorrectly concluding that estrogen without progesterone is acceptable. It is not acceptable, and is a disservice to women.
Let’s go through the article in detail. Note: the Jonekos article text is in italics:
Bioidentical hormone treatment made my menopausal symptoms worse.
“I splurged for Somers’ expensive Beverly Hills doctor recommendation, assuming he must have the answers. He confirmed I was menopausal and gave me tubes of compounded triple estrogen gel and compounded 10 percent micronized progesterone gel, with orders to apply them regularly. After a few months of visiting this overpriced Beverly Hills doctor, my menopause symptoms were exaggerated and my moodiness turned into depression.”
My comment: This bioidentical hormone program of estrogen gel and progesterone is the correct one, used by millions of women daily. It is safe and effective. However, close patient monitoring is required, and the patient should be alerted to watch out for signs of hormonal excess.
Blood Test revealed my estrogen levels were 7 times higher than normal.
“A blood test revealed that my estrogen levels were seven times higher than normal, my increased weight now placed me into the overweight BMI category, and my severe crankiness made it impossible to work. There is no need for testing of hormone levels, either in saliva or blood. The science has shown that there is no predictable correlation between hormone levels in saliva or in blood and severity of symptoms.”
My comment: Apparently Jonekos visited a bioidentical hormone doctor in Beverly Hills. Uzzi Reiss MD is well known in Beverly Hills and prominently mentioned in Suzanne Somer’s book. Jonekos obviously did not read Reiss’s books on bio-identical hormones, which explain the symptoms of estrogen excess. These are fluid retention, bloating, breast enlargement and tenderness. Once these estrogen excess symptoms are identified, the estrogen dosage is held until symptoms are gone. Educating the patient about estrogen excess symptoms, and when to hold hormone dosage is the key to successful treatment program.
An omission Jonekos revealed in a blog posting elsewhere is the story of birth control pills for many years. Birth control pills are synthetic hormones, and when these are abruptly stopped, this causes onset of menopausal symptoms. This complicates the story considerably. Birth control pills are a form of chemical castration, halting ovulation. Birth control pills cause artificial cycles without ovulation. Once the pills are stopped, there is usually a delay of months before normal ovarian function and normal cycling resumes. Until ovarian function returns, there is no hormone production and patients experience typical menopausal symptoms with low hormone levels.
Let’s assume such as a scenario took place. When such a patient begins a bioidentical hormone program, hormone levels will go up with relief of menopausal symptoms. The patient feels better. However, a few months later, there is resumption of ovarian function which pumps new hormones into the patient’s body, added to the levels produced by her hormone creams. This causes hormonal excess with all the usual symptoms of bloating, breast enlargement and mood disorder. This is not a failure of the bioidentical hormone medication. Hormonal excess means the hormones are working too well, raising estrogen levels too much. This is not a failure of the medication, rather it is a failure of patient monitoring and failure to alert the patient to these symptoms. Blood testing is useful here to show elevated estrogen levels.
Unregulated Hormones Not Supported by Science
“What went wrong? I trusted a resource not supported by science. I was taking unregulated hormones. It was eye-opening to learn that natural compounded bioidentical hormones were unregulated by the FDA. There was no standardization for producing the product, and no tests on the formulations. There are NO real natural hormone products available.”
My comment: Jonekos clearly has a bad experience with this first doctor, and then incorrectly concludes there is something wrong with the bioidentical hormones, saying that bioidentical hormones are not supported by science, unregulated, non-standard, and untested. Of course, this is all nonsense. Bioidentical hormones are heavily regulated, tested and supported by science. The statement, “There are NO real natural hormone products available” is more nonsense. Quite to the contrary, millions of women are using them every day.
Science DOES support the use of bioidentical hormones for menopausal symptoms. Go to Medline and do a search for estrogen or progesterone (link ) and 90,000 articles will come up. Dr Holtorf’s review article The Bioidentical Hormone Debate in PostGraduate, cites 196 articles showing that bioidentical hormones are safer and more effective than synthetic chemically altered hormones.
Bioidentical hormones are heavily regulated as both FDA approved products at the corner drug store and as compounded preparations. Compounding does not fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA, so FDA regulation is not needed or even desired. Instead, Compounding pharmacies have a separate system of regulation at the state and local level which is rigorous and recognized by the AMA. Look for a compounding pharmacy with PCAB accreditation.
1 ) Natural: The word “natural” is a marketing term. There is no scientific evidence that custom-compounded bioidenticals are safer or more effective or more “natural” than standard pharmaceutical bioidentical prescriptions. The only “natural” hormones are the hormones being made by your body.
My Comment: The word “natural” is not only a marketing term. Natural means anything found in the natural world that cannot be patented. This next comment is a tautology as bioidentical is still bioidentical whether found in FDA approved prescriptions or in compounded preparations. We know from the <a href=”http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/288/3/321″ target=”_blank”
Jeffrey Dach MD is founder of TrueMedMD, a clinic in Hollywood, Florida specializing in Bioidentical Hormones and Natural Thyroid. Originally Board Certified in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Dr. Dach is also Board Certified by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.
Dr Dach is author of the book, Natural Medicine 101, available on Amazon or as a free e-book at www.naturalmedicine101.com.
His office is located at 4700 Sheridan Suite T, Hollywood Florida 33021. Telephone 954-983-1443.
Latest posts by Dr. Jeffrey Dach (see all)
- The Low Salt Diet Revisited: Found to Increase Mortality - August 7, 2011
- Gluten Sensitivity: Is Your Food Making You Sick? - May 13, 2011
- Waking Up From the Synthetic Hormone Nightmare - April 26, 2011