Suzanne Somers on Oprah Praises Bioidentical Hormones by Jeffrey Dach MD
Posted Feb 10 2009 10:57am
Suzanne Somers Praises BioIdentical Hormones
Actress Suzanne Somers appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and praised bioidentical hormones last week.
"By replacing my hormones with bioidentical hormones, I got my life back. I got my health back, I got my figure back, I got my happiness back," she says. "Everything in my life is better."
Sparring by Opposing Medical Experts
Two medical experts also appeared on the show to represent opposing opinions.
Christiane Northrup, MD, a practicing OB/Gyne specialist with impressive academic credentials represented the pro-bioidentical hormone viewpoint.
Lauren Streicher, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University and a practicing ob-gyn at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital represented the opposing view.
Erika Schwartz and Kent Holtorf Say BioIdentical Hormones are Safe
I would have been more impressed if Oprah had invited Erika Schwartz MD to give the evidence that bioidentical hormones are safe and beneficial for health. Erika Schwartz recently co-authored a chapter in Primary Care Clinics on this same topic of Bioidentical Hormones. (the other co-author was Kent Holtorf, MD).
This is the conclusion of the chapter by Schwartz and Holtorf, " The current state of evidence demonstrates bioidentical hormones as a safe and effective option. Risks associated with the use of conjugated estrogen and progestins (synthetic monster hormones), including the increased risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular events, have not been reported with the use of bioidentical hormones."
http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/20090128_tows_suzannesomers/1 Actress Suzanne Somers has been preaching about the wonders of bioidentical hormones for more than a decade. Suzanne says menopause hit on her 50th birthday and almost ruined her life. "It was like a Mack truck," she says. "It began a three-year odyssey of not sleeping, moodiness, weight gain, changes in my hair, changes in my skin, body itches [and] rashes."
Suzanne says bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) saved her. "By replacing my hormones with bioidentical hormones, I got my life back. I got my health back, I got my figure back, I got my happiness back," she says. "Everything in my life is better."
Suzanne may feel that bioidentical hormones are the best solution for her, but Dr. Lauren Streicher, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University and a practicing ob-gyn at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, has some concerns.
Dr. Streicher says the belief that compounded or "bioidentical" hormones are different and, therefore, safer and more natural than what you get from the drugstore is not factual. "The reality is that whether you go to your corner drugstore or your compounding pharmacy, you're most likely to get an estrogen that was synthesized," she says. "They're all synthesized from plants, and it has the exact same chemical structure."
There is one big difference if you go to a pharmacy that's not approved by the FDA, she says. "They have absolutely no obligation to support their claims. They can say what they want. … That it's safer, that it has less side effects, that there are no risks, that it will prevent cancer," she says. "The truth is, you can get the exact same product in an FDA-approved pharmacy from true experts."
Dr. Streicher also wants to make one thing clear—"bioidentical" is a made-up term. "'Bioidentical' does not exist in any medical book," she says. "Marketers made it up. It sounds really catchy. It sounds scientific. It sounds natural."
Whether you're getting hormones from a compounding pharmacy or your corner drugstore, Dr. Streicher says you need to be monitored by a qualified physician.
Dr. Northrup says she thinks of "bioidentical" as a chemical term and prescribes them to her patients. "It's about biochemistry. It's not a marketing term," she says. "This is a hormone exactly matching what's in the human female body. So when you're going to optimize your hormones, that's what you use."
While you can get chemicals like natural progesterone in a regular pharmacy, Dr. Northrup says your doctor or nurse practitioner needs to know exactly which ones match your body. "It can be done with the regular mainstream pharmacy, and the regular pharmacies started to carry these because of the pressure from the compounding pharmacy," she says. "I, for years, recommended the compounding pharmacies because I couldn't get what I needed in a mainstream conventional pharmacy."
Suzanne says women should know that the hormones that work for you won't necessarily work for someone else. "I absolutely agree," Dr. Northrup says. "It's not the same size for everyone."
"The current state of evidence demonstrates bioidentical hormones as a safe and effective option. Risks associated with the use of conjugated estrogen and progestins, including the increased risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular events,10,40,43–46, 56–59 have not been reported with the use of bioidentical hormones."
Jeffrey Dach MD 4700 Sheridan Suite T Hollywood Fl 33021 954-983-1443
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