You may have been weary to try hormone replacement therapy due to side effects and other risks associated with these types of treatments. But, have you ever wondered why so many women still take hormones?
It's because the benefits of these medications can outweigh the risks.
However, when it comes to hormonal treatment, you might be afraid of taking them because you’re actually unaware of the benefits. Of course, there is risk with hormonal treatment. But remember, there is risk to taking an aspirin.
Should a woman avoid or postpone hormonal treatment because of that risk? No. The consequences of delayed or avoided treatment include bone loss, muscle loss, arteriosclerosis and so much more.
Women delay hormones as long as possible, but why?
You may think that taking hormones is extremely dangerous for your health and poses a greater risk for cancer. However, starting hormone therapy early is the exact opposite and is actually beneficial to your health. Taking hormones early can also help reduce your pre-menopausal symptoms.
What else do you need to know about taking hormones?
Daved Rosensweet, MD, joins Dr. Holly to discuss the myth of hormone therapy and how it can actually backfire on your health.
RadioMD Presents:HER Radio | Original Air Date: March 25, 2015
Host: Holly Lucille, ND, RN
The best of both conventional and alternative medicine. It's the Dr. Holly Lucille Show. Here's Dr. Holly.
DR HOLLY: Hi, folks. Thanks so much, again, for joining us. I am really excited and I know I want to talk about this for as long as I can, so I'm going to bring on our guest as soon as possible because we're going to be talking about hormones, alright? Actually, a myth of no treatment. That perhaps refusing hormones in menopause, the myth that it will keep you safe.
I've got Daved Rosensweet. He's an MD. He's been in private practice since 1971, so you know he's got experience and I think that's the best when it comes to knowing what you're talking about. Dr. Rosensweet, thanks so much for being here.
DR. DAVEDR. DAVED: Thank you, Dr. Lucille. Happy to be here.
DR. HOLLY: I want to talk about this and the way...Well, I want you to talk about it because you have something called The Target Method. You can find it at TheTargetMethod.com, and you've also got a book titled The Target Method: A Woman's Guide to Navigating Menopause. So, tell me your take.
DR. DAVED: Well, menopause comes to half the population of the earth and fundamentally, it's the diminishing of hormones and we could say that there are aspects of that that are normal but there are other aspects in which it's been from over-stress of the hormonal system. Regardless, the consequences of low estrogen, low progesterone, low androgens—that would be testosterone and DHEA—are very profound.
I mean, I remember in medical school a gerontologist telling us, "Let me tell you what really happens to older people. They lose their muscles and they fall onto osteoporotic bones." In women, the elephant in that room is low estrogens, low progesterone, also androgens and also low thyroid.
One of the things I've done over the course of my career is test women of all menopausal ages, and I can tell you, the kind many of whom are having trouble walking and look quite old, boy, their numbers are super low and not compatible with healthy bones, healthy arteries, healthy vagina, bladder problems. When you lose the muscle support of the bladder and also have vaginal changes that take place after the loss of hormones, it's a recipe that ultimately winds up with the adult diapers—the Depends. Having dealt with many women of many ages, I can tell you, women do not like that.
DR. HOLLY: No.
DR. DAVED: They would much prefer to preserve the health of the bladder and the vagina. Not to mention cognitive function. There are medical studies that show that a certain percentage of brain dysfunction, deterioration, dementia, no matter what name you want to give to it, has a relationship to low estrogen. That depends on specific women. What I've just named is almost universal among elderly women.
DR. HOLLY: Sure.
DR. DAVED: Some women do really much better than others, but it's not like one in 10, it's like 8 in 10 wind up with it. So, it's almost a guarantee that with low hormones, over the course of time, big stuff, things that women do not like, are going to happen.
DR. HOLLY: Alright. So, I want to get to this. So, you say, simply put, you wouldn't skip your blood pressure medicine, so you shouldn't skip your bio-identical hormone treatment. That's pretty much this bottom line for you. But, let's ask these questions because I know that the public has some questions about like, are hormones dangerous? Exogenous hormones that you take, are they dangerous? Could people get breast or uterine cancer from taking them?
DR. DAVED: Well, I'm going to make an assertion because our time is limited, that no one has ever created a cancer from taking natural hormones—same molecule that's in the body at reasonably low doses. Now, all of us are vulnerable to cancers and there's a certain type of cancer that is so like the parent glandular cell—the breast glandular cell—from which it comes, that it has estrogen receptor sites and any woman that has the cancer--it takes 10-15 years for a cancer to move from one cell to being able to be felt. Any woman who has estrogen receptor sites, there's going to be a more rapid rate of growth of that breast cancer, and picked up earlier, very often, if she takes estrogen.
DR. HOLLY: Sure.
DR. DAVED: Now, in the same sense, the likelihood of breast cancer is not that high compared to the surety of arterial issues and bladder issues, etc. So, the name of the game is individualize this.
DR. HOLLY: Yes.
DR. DAVED: There are more women who are more at risk. They're identifiable. None of us are completely free from risk. I, myself, am not free from risk.
DR. HOLLY: Good point.
DR. DAVED: In a certain sense, it's always a risk/benefit analysis. What I emphasis in teaching this, and that's primarily what the Target Method training course is about is individualize, individualize, individualize the best that you can. My assertion is with bio-identical hormones, that's the same molecule that's present in a woman's body in low doses, because it does not take much. So much of the trouble never came from estrogen, never came from horse-urine derived estrogen, it actually came from a molecule that was linked up with Premarin, the horse-urine derived estrogen called "medroxyprogestrone acetate" or Provera, that's where the slight increase in breast cancer occurred that scared everybody so much.
DR. HOLLY: Yes. There's a lot of misinformation. I love the things that you're saying. Individualize, individualize, individualize. So, because we do have such limited time, what are some of the best sources for more information on hormones that the listeners can go to, to know more that the risk/benefit ratio really could be in their benefit by using these lovely molecules at the time of menopause.
DR. DAVED: Well, I love my book. I mean, I wrote a book for women. It's called The Target Method: A Woman's Guide to Navigating Menopause. That can be found on our website. It's TheTargetMethod.com. There are a lot of resources out there right now. There are several books that have been written by really excellent people. In every community now, and especially where you are on the West Coast, there are probably 20 well-schooled physicians in your area that have learned a lot about this. We've trained a couple in the L.A. area and they can be found on our website as well, but there are many more that have received very extensive training and have some significant experience through some of the training organizations that have hunkered down on hormones and menopause.
DR. HOLLY: I love this. I think you've elevated the conversation quite a bit because you tout achieving the right dose. It does reduce risk and alleviate symptoms. Reduces risk and alleviate symptoms. I don't think you can ask for a better combination than that, especially because so many women, as you note, are at a risk at this point in time in their life for devastating conditions involving their bones, their bladder.
DR. DAVED: Can I say one more thing about that?
DR. HOLLY: Sure. Please.
DR. DAVED: The large, humongous study that scared everybody, half the study, the women were on Premarin—that's just the horse-urine derived estrogen alone—those women had less of a risk of getting breast cancer than women who went untreated. Think about that. Even Premarin, they had a lesser risk.
DR. HOLLY: Good point.
DR. DAVED: The bio-identical studies also show the combination of estrogen and bio-identical progesterone, less of a risk than in untreated women. I love the literature and anyone who dives deep in it will come to the same conclusion, I suggest.
DR. HOLLY: Yes.
DR. DAVED: It's not like we're risk free. I've practiced long enough to see women with breast cancer and it's a big deal. But, practicing very, very carefully, are we going to reduce 100% of risk of people getting ill? No. But, you know, all the things that you stand for can go a long way in helping move us out of the risk territory and into a more vital territory and not necessarily be as vulnerable to these really harsh illnesses.
DR. HOLLY: Yes. It will alleviate symptoms and also increase optimal health. I love, Dr. Ronsensweet that you train physicians because what I've seen and, certainly, people that have come to me after seeing a doctor, perhaps, in Beverly Hills or what have you have mentioned and it's that cookie cutter mentality. It's not individualization at all. It is one size fits all—one dosage.
There is not individual tailoring to it. I think that increases the risk, even if we're talking about bio-identical because sometimes, "Hey, if it's not working, let's do this. Let's increase the dose." It becomes sort of a Whack-A-Mole game. I have a feeling that with the Target Method, we can really take into consideration the person that we're caring for and that these lovely molecules that we do in our modern day, struggle with losing at the time of menopause, could be utilized really to create optimal health, to at least help and decrease the risk of some of the things that we could run into.
We've got about 30 seconds. Anything else you want to say?
DR. DAVED: Individualization is the name of this game and, you know, the knowledge base is so much more extensive that it was 50 years ago, when that's all we knew how to do. One dose fits all, but all these years later, oh, my god. We can be highly precise. It's great.
DR. HOLLY: Now, we have The Target Method. You can find out more at TheTargetMethod.com
This is Dr. Holly Lucille. This is Mindful Medicine. Thank you so much for joining us.