In case you didn’t watch TV or read the papers March 23 and 24, 2005, HRT and the perfunctory governmental interest in menopause made a brief and useless appearance again.
Apparently, a panel appointed by the NIH looked at the latest in menopausal treatments and HRT. Well, if only to tell us menopausal symptoms are not the same as aging and they need to be differentiated when considering treatment.
This panel, whoever they may be, supposedly looked at today’s state of the non-science and treatment of menopause in the US.
The panelists decided that symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, loss of libido and mood swings were being over played and over treated by the women of this country. All this while questioning the connection of the symptoms to menopause rather than natural aging.
To me, who actually practices medicine and sees patients every week, this is another case of ignorance and lack of genuine care for women’s health.
What exactly is the difference between symptoms of aging and symptoms of hormone imbalance caused by the loss of hormones that naturally occurs with aging?
I wonder who was interviewed by this panel? They certainly were not in my office where women come every day at their wits’ ends handicapped by the severity of the symptoms that wreak havoc in their lives caused by hormone imbalance/menopause/aging.
Finally, the “experts” and I have to put that word into quotation marks because I believe anyone who sees fewer than 500 menopausal women a year can hardly be called an expert, declared things were pretty much under control; probably as much as everything else in our healthcare system.
They recommended women go back to taking “low dose synthetic estrogen” since it “probably” is not that harmful for us anyway. (Maybe they should try using it themselves or on their wives for the next 20 years and get back to us with the results)
The panel also recommended women do not over use the unproven over the counter medications and remedies which appear to be the only other options. I find that fascinating if not disturbing that these over the counter remedies which are being extensively marketed, have still not been studied, almost 3 years after we found out synthetic estrogen is bad for us.
A pathetic effort at trying to appear to care about the plight affecting a 35 million women in the US today!
What ever happened to other options? Why are we still only talking about synthetic hormones and only estrogen to boot?
Hundreds of thousands of women are now informed and have found relief and safety in the use of prescription bioidentical hormones: natural progesterone, testosterone and estrogen.
Why are countless numbers of women being stonewalled by their doctors when asking for prescriptions for natural hormones: FDA approved and well studied options since the 1980s?
I personally am baffled and disgusted.
What is the NIH doing? Why are they spending our money on appointing useless panels to regurgitate the same useless information over and over again, year after year?
Isn’t the NIH and the conventional medical establishment aware of the fact that American women are disgusted with the system and are better educated than their own doctors?
Why is the NIH continuing to perpetuate backward, paternalistic management of women’s hormone problems?
They might as well have stood over us and patted us on the head saying” there, there…. Things aren’t really so bad. Just go back to listening to your doctors and take another antidepressant or synthetic hormone pill to keep you quiet.”
Every day of my life I see and speak with women who are truly suffering with incapacitating symptoms. Many of them aren’t even in menopause.
I communicate by phone or e-mail with hundreds of women every week. They all tell me the same things:
- They are sick and tired of being ignored, discarded and discounted by their doctors.
- Their doctors don’t listen and don’t know how to treat them for their symptoms. They only know how to put them on synthetic hormones or antidepressants.
- Women are sick and tired of being taken advantage of by marketers of supplements, vitamins and herbs who promise cures that never pan out.
- Women want to be healthy. They want honest direction. They are sick of being manipulated and given shabby medical care.
Clearly, the NIH is not about to help women get any better care than their uninformed and uncaring MDs.
My recommendation is we stick together and demand better research and better care.
1. Ask questions and if the answers you get are not satisfactory, change doctors.
2. Listen to your gut, it won’t steer you wrong.
3. Good diet, plenty of exercise, stress management and sleep are key to keeping us alive and feeling well.
Bioidentical/natural hormones do work. They have been around for 20 years and when given in the proper doses, combinations and preparations, they will make the difference between a life of health and a continuous downhill slide into aging and chronic illness.