Frequently Asked Questions
Myth #1: Women who suffer from PMS and hot flashes usually just need depression medication or estrogen supplementation
Facts: Hormone imbalances can present as a wide variety of symptoms, from PMS to depression, as well as weight gain, headaches, sleeplessness, anxiety, decreased sex drive, fatigue, dry hair or skin, even hair loss. Properly diagnosing and treating hormone imbalance symptoms requires a holistic approach--one that evaluates a broad range of the patient's physical and psychological attributes.
Myth #2: Hormone therapy is risky. It can increase morbidity and mortality from breast cancer, cervical cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
Facts: The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Study of 1991 caused confusion and widespread panic among patients and practitioners. But it was flawed. It focused on synthetic estrogen-only treatments in (older) postmenopausal women. It failed to consider the inherent weaknesses of synthetic estrogens and that the age of the subjects predisposed them to such risks. In March 2004, that part of the study was also closed down. The press release announced that "After careful consideration of the data, NIH has concluded that with an average of nearly 7 years of follow-up completed, estrogen alone does not appear to affect (either increase or decrease) heart disease, a key question of the study. It has not increased the risk of breast cancer during the time period of the study.
Myth #3: All hormone supplements are the same.
Facts: Hormone treatments such a Premarin, Prempro and Ceestin are synthetic, i.e. they are not true hormones. Molecular differences between synthetic progestins and progesterone result in differences in their pharmacological effects of breast tissue. Some of the pro-carcinogenic effects of synthetic progestins contract with the anti-carcinogenic properties of progesterone, which result in disparate clinical effects on the risk of breast cancer. In other words, bio-identical hormones are associated with lower risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease and are more efficacious than their synthetic and animal-derived counterparts.
Myth #4: If a hormone supplement doesn't appear to resolve symptoms, increase the dosage
Facts: The symptoms of imbalances among the family of endocrine hormones are subject to significant overlap. An above-normal level of one hormone can present the same symptoms as a below-normal eve of another. In many cases, both below and above normal levels of the same hormone can present the same symptoms. It is critical to assess and evaluate all of the endocrine hormones to determine which may need adjustment.
Myth #5: Salvia teste is the only acceptable method for measuring hormones
Facts: Test is not a "one size fits all" proposition. Salvia, blood spot, serum and urine testing each have their advantages and disadvantages. The best approach is to evaluate every situation independently and proceed based upon the patient's symptoms, the current treatment regimen, and the hormones being measured.