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The Estrogen Errors: A Book Recommendation

Posted Jul 09 2012 12:00am

I have often said, I’m not much on hawking products or promoting books which I do not personally believe in. I find that sort of Internet carnival barking distasteful.

But, when I read a book or take a product that I think you might be interested in, you can count on it, I will definitely tell you about it.

The book The Estrogen Errors: Why Progesterone is Better for Women’s Health by co-authors, Dr. Susan Baxter, PhD, and Dr. Jerilynn Prior, MD, is definitely one of those books.

One of the main reasons I would recommend this book is because the topic of estrogen therapy is back in the news again. Now that all of the hysteria and fervor has died down over the Women’s Health Initiative study , some physicians are beginning to wade back into the waters of hormone replacement therapy, recommending that some women could benefit from replacing estrogen during perimenopause and menopause.

Dr. Mache Seibel, MD , is one of those physicians, who recently published a post at Huffington, where, among other things, he had this to say:

  • Estrogen and progesterone, now called HT instead of HRT, is still the most effective treatment for symptoms related to menopause.
  • HT is a very reasonable and safe treatment for menopausal symptoms for many women, but it can’t be the only treatment we offer.  Some women, especially those with a history of breast cancer or uterine bleeding or blood clots or who smoke, should talk with their doctors about alternatives to HT.
  • If you want to go on HT or consider going on it, there seems to be a critical window of time to start the closer to the onset of menopause the better. Ten years after menopause, it may be too late to start HT.
  • Treatment must be individualized and not assume that “one size fits all.”

Why Are We Still Talking About Low Estrogen?

On the one hand, Dr. Seibel is taking a balanced and measured approach to estrogen therapy, and to his credit, he does state it should not be the only treatment offered. However, after several years of personal study on the subject, I have come to believe that women who display severe symptoms during perimenopause (as I did,) are not suffering from low estrogen as Dr. Seibel, et al suggests, but instead, estrogen dominance.

The entire experience of perimenopause continues to be a great source of frustration and confusion for women, predominately because the medical community cannot reach a consensus on anything surrounding it.

For example:

  • Is hormone replacement therapy safe or not?
  • Are women in peri-menopause or just good old fashioned menopause?
  • Are they even in perimenopause at all when they exhibit symptoms of hormone imbalance in their 40s?

Why Can’t We Figure This Out?

It seems absurd that in 2012 we are a still asking these questions. Yet, as any woman knows who has sought the help of a physician during perimenopause – we are.  However, Dr. Baxter and Dr. Prior provide the answers not only these questions, but they also dare to ask others as well. For example:

  • Why is modern medicine stuck in antiquated medical paradigms which continue to define menopause as a “deficiency disease” rather than a natural life cycle?
  • Why are individual women measured against a boiler plate medical template of “normal” and declared “abnormal” when their symptoms do not fit the template?
  • Why are gynecologists the “de facto” experts and authorities on woman’s health?
  • Why is “listening” to a patient describe how they feel to ascertain a diagnosis considered revolutionary? After all, we do know how we feel.

With the exception of one chapter which is heavy with medical jargon and explanations, The Estrogen Errors: Why Progesterone is Better for Women’s Health is a remarkably easy book to read. It is provocative, but only because doctors Baxter and Prior are daring to challenge the medical status quo and their assumptions (and dare I say, presumptions) regarding women’s health.

If I were to be limited in my suggestions to only one book that every woman should have for her library, The Estrogen Errors , without question, would be that book.  It is not cheap, ladies, I will tell you that right now. But, I guarantee you; it is worth every, single dollar.

Magnolia Miller is a Certified Healthcare Consumer Advocate in women’s health and a women’s freelance health writer.   She writes here and at other sites around the web including where she has a weekly menopause column.

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