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Hormones, Health & Happiness: A Book Review

Posted Mar 28 2010 10:11pm

I finished the book Hormones, Health, and Happiness: A Natural Medical Formula for Rediscovering Youth with Bioidentical Hormones , by Dr. Steven F. Hotze, after what now seems more like a  journey rather than a simple book review.

Bio-identical hormones versus traditional hormone replacement therapy can be a confusing subject for women who are searching for healthy solutions and help for perimenopause.

There is no shortage of medical studies, books and opposing points of view on the topic and the debate among physicians is contentious.  As a result, it can be  overwhelming for women trying to sort through the voluminous and often contradicting information.

In his book, Hormones, Health, and Happiness: A Natural Medical Formula for Rediscovering Youth with Bioidentical Hormones , Dr. Hotze, who has decades of medical practice under his belt in both traditional and non-traditional methods, lays out a compelling and convincing case as to why bio-identicals are a better and healthier choice for women rather than traditional HRT in the treatment and management of perimenopause symptoms .

One of the biggest roadblocks to bio-identical hormones as Dr. Hotze points out in Hormones, Health, and Happiness, are the pharmaceutical companies.  As a consumer, I’ve certainly understood that money often dictates our health care choices and I also knew that pharmaceutical companies had a financial stake in the health care system. But, since reading Hormones, Health, and Happiness , I’ve learned exactly how much and why. Particularly as it relates to bio-identical hormones.

Because pharmaceutical companies own the patent of the bio-engineered, synthetic hormones such as Premarin or Prempro , it gives them a clear financial advantage since bio-identical hormones, which originate from a natural rather than synthetic source, cannot be patented .

Because pharmaceutical companies own the patent, they own the drug.  Because they own the drug, they also own the revenue that is generated from that drug.  Which, in case you’ve ever wondered, is billions and billions of dollars annually.

So, unfortunately, the cynical adage “just follow the money” is true when discussing the debate between bio-identical hormones and HRT.  The pharmaceutical companies have no intentions of letting go of the purse strings in this fight. And why should they, I suppose, when it’s so lucrative for them not to.

But, rather than give in to the cynicism and stranglehold the pharmaceutical companies are trying to keep on our health, Dr. Hotze has established himself as a staunch believer in bio-identical hormone therapy and has committed his entire medical practice to the cause.

Hormones, Health, and Happiness is a book, then, born out of his desire to help women manage perimenopause naturally by way of  bio-identicals hormones without working against their own bodies.

An interesting point Dr. Hotze makes in his book , is that physicians are trained in medical school to rely heavily on the results of lab tests and medical procedures to provide data from which to diagnose and subsequently treat a patient.  In deed, he himself was also trained in medical school to do this as well.

However, with the help of mentor and friend, Dr. Herb Fred, director of postgraduate education at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston,  Dr. Hotze was encouraged to……“consider every piece of information available to him, including his eyes and ears….” when diagnosing the patient.

“Lab data and test results can only provide a snapshot in time when assessing the condition of a patient and providing a diagnosis” says Dr. Hotze.  Therefore, in order to more accurately help the patient, Dr. Hotze believes that listening to a patient describe how they feel, letting them explain their symptoms, while looking at the patient and taking note of how they appear in conjunction with lab tests can provide a much more accurate  picture than relying on laboratory data alone.

Laboratory data can be helpful to confirm the diagnosis, but when the results of the lab tests do not correspond to the patient’s signs and symptoms, it is the lab tests that should be considered suspect, not the patient”

This certainly corresponds with the experience that so many women have when seeking medical help for what they suspect is perimenopause , only to be told that their blood work is “normal” and therefore they could not possibly be in perimenopause.

How many women have slogged out of their physician’s office feeling frustrated and defeated, because no matter what the blood work said, they felt horrible? I dare say many.

Another topic that Dr. Hotze presents in Hormones, Health, and Happiness, that is oft misunderstood or ignored all together when talking about perimenopause is hypothyroidism.  Which, as Dr. Hotze points out in his book, afflicts women seven times more frequently than men.

The higher incidence of hypothyroidism among women can be attributed to genetic factors, but also to female hormone imbalance, such as what occurs during perimenopause.

Personally, I happened to find this fact particularly fascinating since I’ve always associated hypothyroidism with weight issues. As a former 5′10 skinny-minnie who never weighed more than 133 lbs soaking wet; that I could possibly have issues with my thyroid never occurred to me when I began to enter perimenopause.

However, hypothyroidism can cause similar if not exact symptoms that are often attributed to perimenopause such as:

  • fatigue
  • cold extremities
  • muscle and joint pain
  • menstrual irregularities
  • brain fog
  • hair loss
  • loss of libido
  • depression or mood swings

For the laymen, Dr. Hotze is able to show, in language very easy to read and  understand, the connection between hypothyroidism symptoms and the hormone imbalance caused by perimenopause.

Dr. Hotze’s approach then, as laid out so well in Hormones, Health, and Happiness, is to treat the whole person and to build a history based not only on lab data and test results, but by talking to the patient as well.

Dr. Hotze believes that when women are in perimenopause that the chances of them having issues with their thyroid are also very high and so, he endeavors to not only treat the patient for hormonal imbalance caused by perimenopause, but to identify and treat any potential issues with hypothyroidism as well.

Of course, no book on health and wellness as it pertains to perimenopause would be complete without addressing the issues of diet and the food choices we make.

You can find a section in the book with excellent recipes that are nutritious and contribute to managing our symptoms .

In the appendix section you can also find several health questionnaires to test for allergies, potential yeast overgrowth in your body, low thyroid function and of course, estrogen dominance.

I have found Dr. Hotze’s book to be a fascinating and comprehensive read when it comes to bio-identical hormones and health and wellness.

I’ve come to the conclusion after reading Hormones, Health, and Happiness: A Natural Medical Formula for Rediscovering Youth with Bioidentical Hormones , that bio-identical hormones are a viable, if not superior choice for women when it comes to the treatment and management of not only perimenopause symptoms , but potential thyroid issues as well.

I would highly recommend Dr. Hotze’s book to any woman who is confused and frustrated with trying to decipher all of the conflicting medical information out there as it pertains to perimenopause and the treatment of it.

You can find it in my sidebar if you wish to purchase a copy or you may find it here at Amazon.com as well.

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