“Hormone Heresy” by Sherrill Sellman, ND

The Hormone Story certainly has been very complicated. Up until now we have only been offered one solution. Serious doubt has been cast on the efficacy and appropriateness of HRT and synthetic hormones. Older generations up to and including many Baby Boomers never discussed women’s body issues except with their doctors. It wasn’t until the late 20th century we started talking to other women and writing books about menstruation, menopause and hormones. This book is a great starting point to understanding our hormones.

A former president of the London Royal College of Psychiatrists warns that estrogen used in HRT to counteract symptoms of menopause could be as addictive as heroin. Woman on the pill have a greater tendency toward liver dysfunction and to more allergies. Estrogen drugs also affect vitamin concentrations in addition essential fatty acid and zinc is depleted. Women quitting cold turkey have experienced withdrawal effects. They experience a wide range of physical symptoms and psychiatric disturbances. Woman should always be advised to taper off.

There is a very delicate balance between estrogen and progesterone. In our industrialized world petrochemicals are everywhere we are exposed to millions of products including plastics, microchips, medicine, clothes, food, soap, pesticides that have an uncanny ability to mimic natural estrogen, all decrease libido, increase the likelihood of breast cysts, uterine fibroid’s and cancers. This mimicking estrogen is also found in animals. Studies started in the 40’s monitoring altered animal behaviors. Animals lose their drive to mate, fail to reproduce and began nesting with the same sex. These mimicking compounds can accumulate in our fat tissue and are extremely difficult to excrete which is why we are seeing a rise in disease.

22 Million Women in the United States have undergone hysterectomies and 73% of those were also castrated (removal of ovaries) during the same surgery. Approximately 620,000 women have a hysterectomy, annually. These numbers do not include outpatient surgeries. At the present rate one out of two women in America will have a hysterectomy by 60 years old and ¾ of those surgeries are on women under 49. Costs for these procedures are in the billion. Gynecology is one of the highest paid medical specialties. It’s no wonder woman are exposed to false claims, advertisements for the pill or HRT and harassed into excessive “routine” exams.

Statistics by the American Cancer Society show ovarian cancer was 40% higher for woman who used estrogen for 6 years and 70% higher at 11 years of use. The Walnut Creek Study (1981) showed ALL the women who develop melanomas under age 40 had taken the birth control pill. Stanley West, Chief of Endocrinology at St. Vincent’s Hospital says “50% of American woman will have a hysterectomy and 90% of the surgeries are unnecessary. He believes the surgery is never necessary unless the woman has cancer. Some of the most common consequences of these surgeries are heart disease, osteoporosis, bone joint muscle pain, painful intercourse, displacement of bladder, bowl or other pelvic organs etc. etc..

In 1960 the FDA consented to nationwide marketing of the birth control pill as a result of clinical studies conducted on 132 Puerto Rican women. The study resulted in the death of 5 women. In the last 70 years 400 million women worldwide have been using oral contraceptives. Using these products can unknowingly alter their hormone balance leaving them with potentially devastating emotional and physical effects. Significant links have been made to breast cancer, endometrial cancer, salt and fluid retention, blood pressure, excess body fat, cardiovascular disease and the list doesn’t stop there. These findings have been virtually ignored in the frenzy of profits. With so many dangerous side effects or complications woman need to be educated more clearly on the use of HRT and the many forms of birth control.

In the future we could look back and realize that prescribing of synthetic hormones to woman was the biggest medical mistake of the century. Most American woman have used some form of birth control many with hormones and we are just beginning to see the repercussions.

According to the November 1995 Natural Fertility Management Newsletter; the pill causes 150 chemical changes in a female body. Many of these changes are not understood and can compromise a women’s health and predispose her to a lifetime of health problems. This book goes on to state many studies with the included side effects, inflammatory conditions or diseases caused by synthetic hormones and suggests alternatives.

Obviously a woman has a right to be informed of the effective and much less invasive alternative treatments like natural progesterone, Naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and other natural healing modalities. When it comes to accurately testing your hormones there is now a choice. Most often used in the past was the saliva test but today we have the Blood Spot Test. With a painless finger stick we can now measure bioavailable hormones in capillary blood.

Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) can fill your receptor sites and block environmental xeno-estrogens (from things like plastics, pesticides). Foods include soy, cashews, peanuts, oats, corn, wheat, apples, almond, rye, (this is the short list). Herbs used in woman’s herbal remedies include: black cohosh, alfalfa, licorice root, red clover, sage to name a few.

Estroil is considered a safe estrogen for treating cancers according to Dr. Henry Lemon’s study of Tamoxifen. Many doctors insist that the same can be said of natural progesterone. Natural Progesterone doesn’t have any of the side effects as birth control pills , HRT or other synthetic hormones. Plus the body can identify natural progesterone and absorb it much more effectively and make it readily available to the body. With benefits including: reduced inflammation through the body. Dr. John Lee began doing clinical research in the mid 1970’s to understand natural progesterone. His independent research see’s improvement in fibromyalgia, allergies, candida, arthritis, endometriosis, auto immune disorders, fibroids, hair loss, high blood pressure, hot flashes, disorders that often were treated with hysterectomies, surgery and drugs are being reversed with natural progesterone, herbs and dietary changes. Natural progesterone comes from the wild yam family, soy and animals. Absorption through the skin is 40-70% more effective than ingestion.

We all want to trust our doctors but we need to also take responsibility for our own health. This book is a great starting point to understanding of our hormones. I appreciated the clinical studies and statistics on hormone imbalance and disease. The book leads the reader to the important need to find medical or holistic care givers who listen to us and finally we MUST learn to listen to our bodies.

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