Women Suffer Needessly from Confusion about Hormones

Medical Wiki

August 13, 2009

Many women are so confused and frightened about hormone replacement that they have decided to forget about it. This reaction is not surprising because almost daily there is a new scare headline blaring at them about how hormone replacement causes cancer or even brain shrinkage. Women who were recently told they could regain their lost sexuality by using hormones are now being warned against it. All this confusion is a shame. As a result of it, women are losing out on feeling their best and getting the most from their lives.

When it comes to hormones, names mean very little

To understand hormone replacement requires the patience to look beyond the name. This is because the hormones produced naturally by the body, the hormone drug products made by pharmaceutical companies, and the bioidentical hormones offered by physicians who specialize in anti-aging medicine, are all referred to simply as hormones. When the headlines blare, there is little or no effort made to inform women about what type of hormones are being discussed. To add to this confusion, the names of the hormones most often replaced, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, have become generic terms. These terms are used freely and without regulation to describe the natural hormones produced by the body, hormone drug products, and bioidentical hormones.

To further confuse matters, all hormone replacement therapy, whether it involves hormone drug products or bioidentical hormones is referred to as HRT in most publications. Few physicians or journalists bother to make the distinction as to whether they are talking about hormone drug products or bioidentical hormones. Many may not even be aware of this distinction. The rare journalist willing to distinguish will refer to information regarding bioidentical hormone replacement as bHRT.

Many women are so confused and frightened about hormone replacement that they have decided to forget about it. This reaction is not surprising because almost daily there is a new scare headline blaring at them about how hormone replacement causes cancer or even brain shrinkage. Women who were recently told they could regain their lost sexuality by using hormones are now being warned against it. All this confusion is a shame. As a result of it, women are losing out on feeling their best and getting the most from their lives.

When it comes to hormones, names mean very little

To understand hormone replacement requires the patience to look beyond the name. This is because the hormones produced naturally by the body, the hormone drug products made by pharmaceutical companies, and the bioidentical hormones offered by physicians who specialize in anti-aging medicine, are all referred to simply as hormones. When the headlines blare, there is little or no effort made to inform women about what type of hormones are being discussed. To add to this confusion, the names of the hormones most often replaced, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, have become generic terms. These terms are used freely and without regulation to describe the natural hormones produced by the body, hormone drug products, and bioidentical hormones.

To further confuse matters, all hormone replacement therapy, whether it involves hormone drug products or bioidentical hormones is referred to as HRT in most publications. Few physicians or journalists bother to make the distinction as to whether they are talking about hormone drug products or bioidentical hormones. Many may not even be aware of this distinction. The rare journalist willing to distinguish will refer to information regarding bioidentical hormone replacement as bHRT.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.